Photo: Tony McDonoughAgnieszka Radwanska and Grzegorz Panfil (POL)
Poland's dream run on Hopman Cup debut continues after the clutch pairing of women's world No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska and 288th-ranked substitute player Grzegorz Panfil reached the final after edging out Australia at Perth Arena on Thursday night.
The Polish pair needed to win a set from the live mixed doubles to prevent Canada reaching Saturday’s final and they did so breaking Stosur’s serve to take the second set 7-5 on their way to a 1-6 7-5 10-8 victory.
Sam Stosur went down swinging to Radwanska 3-6 6-4 6-3 after Bernard Tomic had put the Australians 1-0 up with a 6-1 6-4 win over Panfil.
Radwanska needed an injury time out midway through the second set of the women’s singles to receive treatment on her heavily strapped right shoulder before taking control of the match.
The result means Stosur finishes this year’s Hopman Cup without a singles win.
She is convinced the round robin event remains better preparation for her Australian Open campaign than playing at her home tournament in Brisbane where she has consistently made early exits.
“Even though I’ve had three losses compared to one loss in Brisbane, I do feel better at this stage,” Stosur said.
“I would have loved to have won them all, or even one. But I’m getting that match play. I’m having some long matches, which is exactly what I need at this point in time.”
Tomic finished with a 2-1 win-loss record from his singles at this year’s Hopman Cup and was confident the matches put him in good stead heading into defending his first title on home soil next week.
“I’m happy with this confidence leaving for Sydney,” Tomic said.
“If I have the chance to start the tournament well there I think I can defend it. But there’s a lot of good players during Sydney, I’ve got to prepare well. I’m ready for it.”
Earlier, Canadians Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic played impressively in their singles to give Canada the best possible chance of qualifying for the final, thanks also in part to Flavia Pennetta’s injury.
The Canadian pair won their respective singles matches before clinching a dead mixed doubles rubber over Australian substitute player Bojana Bobusic and Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-4.
The Italian called for an injury timeout to have her wrist heavily strapped but she would last only one game further, calling an end to the match while trailing 4-0.
The win means Bouchard finishes the group stage with two wins from three singles matches.
“I’ve had two good matches here this week and you know, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t play out a full match you know, but I hope Flavia gets better really soon,” Bouchard said.
Raonic, meanwhile, atoned for a shock loss to Grzegorz Panfil with a straight sets 6-2 6-4 win over the winless Andreas Seppi.
“It’s much better, I think it’s difference between day and night pretty much. This one I tried to take initiative and the other one I just let him do things and I didn’t play the way, my game,” Raonic said.