US, France level before mixed doubles decider at Hopman Cup

PERTH, Australia (AP) CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States beat France’s Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to send the Hopman Cup final to a mixed-doubles decider.

Earlier, Richard Gasquet saved a match point in the third-set tiebreaker and held on for a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (6) win over Jack Sock to give France the early lead.

”I was just trying to keep the team alive, that’s the whole concept out here,” Vandeweghe said after saving break points in two consecutive service games in the second set.

The mixed doubles will be played under the Fast4 format of four-game sets – no deuces and no service lets.

Sock broke Gasquet’s service in the 11th game of the deciding set of the opening men’s singles, helped by Gasquet’s double-fault on break point. But Gasquet came back to break Sock in the next game and send it to a tiebreaker.

The match lasted 2 1/2 hours.

”I let it slip away at the end,” Sock said. ”I was holding fairly comfortably for a while. So when I got the break I felt pretty good about it. And then later when I had the match point, I played way too tentatively.”

The U.S. has won the Hopman Cup a record six times in the tournament’s 28-year history.

Organizers announced earlier Saturday that the tournament would remain in the Western Australian state capital for at least the next five years. The state government extended its contract with the International Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia to host the exhibition event at Perth Arena until at least 2022.