Photo: Tony McDonoughAlize Cornet (FRA) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alize Cornet have broken the French drought in Perth leading their country to its first Hyundai Hopman Cup title with a thrilling 2-1 win over Poland in front of more than 10,000 fans.
World No. 10 Tsonga let the second set slip to 288th-ranked Grzegorz Panfil before steadying the boat to secure the first rubber 63 36 63 in the men’s singles before world No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska levelled the tie in a dramatic 63 67(7) 62 triumph over Alize Cornet in 2 hours 40 minutes.
Tsonga was the standout player in a lop-sided mixed doubles rubber, guiding the French to a 60 62 victory, with an elated Cornet launching into his arms upon sealing the match.
“I’m really happy to win today,” Tsonga said. “It’s always good to hold the trophy.”
A beaming Cornet deemed the French breakthrough as one of the best highlights of her career.
“It feels great. I’m very happy that we made history today and France finally won the Hopman Cup,” she said. “I think we deserved it. I’m happy I gave a good show to the crowd.”
In her singles match, Cornet looked headed for a straights sets loss when trailing a set and 5-3.
However, in a game lasting more than seven miutes, the 23-year-old fended off a match point before breaking down in tears while struggling to regain her breath a few points later.
“I was trying to tell the chair umpire not to give me a time violation,” Cornet said. “I was like ‘I can’t breathe’. He didn’t see it unfortunately.”
She regrouped to force a third set, taking the 80-minute second set in a tiebreak, 9-7.
In the decider though, Radwanska, had more in energy in reserve taking the epic tussle after 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Earlier, Tsonga was not impressed at a sloppy second set in which he failed to convert seven break point opportunities but never looked troubled in the third, sealing the match in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Poland v France
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Grzegorz Panfil (POL) 63 36 63
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Alize Cornet (FRA) 63 67(7) 62
Alize Cornet/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Agnieszka Radwanska/Grzegorz Panfil (POL) 60 62