Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and teammate Tomas Berdych won their singles matches in straight sets Wednesday to give the Czech Republic an insurmountable 2-0 lead over the United States at the Hopman Cup.
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Kvitova opened with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Berdych beat Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3. Berdych saved four break points while serving for the match before converting his first match point.
Berdych and Kvitova made it a clean sweep when they beat Mattek-Sands and Fish 6-3, 7-5 in mixed doubles. The extra point that the winners earned could help determine the final placings in Group A, where the Czechs are strong favorites to qualify for Saturday’s final.
The Americans, which have won the Hopman Cup a record six times, fell to 0-2 after losing to Denmark in their opening match on Monday in the eight-nation tournament.
The Czechs and Denmark play each other Friday, featuring a singles match between No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and the second-ranked Kvitova, while the U.S. plays Bulgaria.
Earlier Wednesday, Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova and Grigor Dimitrov came back from a set down to win the deciding mixed doubles and complete a 2-1 victory over Wozniacki and Frederik Nielsen.
The Bulgarians won the mixed doubles 3-6, 6-4, 10-1 after a champions tiebreaker, leaving both teams with 1-1 records in Group A.
Wozniacki had given Denmark the lead when she beat Pironkova 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 but Dimitrov evened it for Bulgaria, beating Nielsen 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Wozniacki beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets in her first singles match Monday just hours after arriving from Thailand.
On Wednesday, she and Pironkova struggled with their serves and Wozniacki was given a code violation for receiving coaching from her father during the seventh game of the third set.
”It was a tough match. I like to give the spectators a little bit of value for their money,” Wozniacki said. ”I’m not a real morning person, so 9:30 is pretty early for me.”
In Group B on Thursday, winless Australia and China play in the morning before France and Spain, both 2-0, play at night. The winner of France-Spain will advance to the final from that group.