Photo: Tony McDonoughAlize Cornet (FRA) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
American Sloane Stephens endured a testing first set before running away with her match against France’s Alize Cornet 75 60.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga then drew the tie level with a 76(1) 63 victory over world No. 14 John Isner before the French pair sealed the tie 61 57 [10-5] in the mixed doubles.
Stephens, the world No. 12, served for the opening set at 5-3 only to fall victim to one of Cornet’s signature fight backs.
The reprieve was brief for the French world No. 27.
Stephens took the last eight games of the match to give the United States a 1-0 lead before Isner faced Tsonga.
Stephens said she was happy with her performance. “It’s not often I win a set 6-0, so I was proud of myself for that. I stayed tough,” Stephens said.
“I tried to up my game a bit in the second set to stick into her a little bit. “I tried to stay solid and stick to my patterns. It worked out well.”
Cornet said she was disappointed to falter at key times in the second set.“The first set was very good from both of us,” Cornet said.
“Even the second set was quite good. I had a lot of game points but I didn’t make any of them. That killed me in the second set.”
In their only other meeting at Hopman Cup Frenchman Tsonga was victorious 63 62 despite the American holding a 3-1 head-to-head on the ATP tour.
Locked in a battle neither wanted to lose, the first set was typified by three unforced errors by Isner in the tie break.
Then Tsonga broke the gigantic Isner serve in the eighth game of the second set and secured the victory in 76 minutes.
Perhaps Hopman Cup 2014 will catapult Tsonga to a positive 2014 season after he missed most of the second half of 2013 due to a knee injury.
“I did a big preparation on it, a good rehab, and now it’s feeling good,” said Tsonga, who beat Radek Stepanek on Monday.
“Last year I was also in good shape. I played well.
“But unfortunately in the middle of the season I had this injury. This year I’ll try to make sure it won’t happen.”
France now find themselves in the box seat to win their first Hopman Cup.
Session 8: France d. USA 2-1
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Alize Cornet (FRA) 75 60
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. John Isner (USA) 76(1) 63
Alize Cornet/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Sloane Stephens/John Isner (USA) 61 57 [10-5]