Photo: Tony McDonoughJo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
France booked its place in Saturday’s Hopman Cup decider against Poland becoming the only team of this year’s competition to finish the group stage having won all three ties.
Alize Cornet posted her first win of the week in Perth, easily accounting for Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2 6-2, before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated journeyman Daniel Munoz-De La Nava 6-4 6-7 (9-7) 6-2 in 135 minutes to ensure the French topped Group B.
Tsonga let three match points slip in the second set against the lowly ranked Munoz-De La Nava, as the Spaniard played his best tennis of the week to steal the tiebreak and force a decider.
Munoz-De La Nava needed treatment on his knee early in the third set and Tsonga took full advantage.
“I was close to finishing it in two sets and then he came back,” Tsonga said. “But we got to the final, so it is good.”
Cornet was cruising against the winless Medina Garrigues, but had to battle through a second-set hamstring injury to finish the match in 81 minutes.
The world No.27 said the injury would not rule her out of Saturday’s final, arguably the biggest final of her career.
“It’s the first match of the season so the muscles are getting used to it,” Cornet said.
The 23-year-old said helping lead France to its maiden Hopman Cup title would be a huge achievement.
“It would be one of my greatest successes of my career for sure,” she said.
“I just want to bring back the trophy to France for the first time. It means a lot for me. I take it very seriously and I’ll give it my best to win it.
Later, in the Czech v United States tie, American Sloane Stephens retired, citing a left wrist injury after dropping the first set to Petra Kvitova 6-3.
The world No.12 still hopes to be fit in time for the Australian Open where she reached the semifinals last year.
The tie, which had no bearing on who reached the final, ended up being awaded to the Czech Republic 3-0 after John Isner withdrew ahead of his scheduled match against Radek Stepanek, due to an ankle injury.
Canadian Milos Raonic was substituted to play in Isner's place and went down in a tight three-setter to Stepanek 5-7 6-3 7-6(4).
Australians Bojana Bobusic and Oliver Anderson then played in Stephens' and Isner's place going down to Stepanek and Kvitova 8-3 in a super set.