Isner, Stephens give U.S. an easy win over Spain at Hopman Cup

Sloane Stephens and John Isner won their matches to give the United States a winning start at the Hopman Cup on Monday and virtually end Spain’s chances in the international mixed team competition.

Stephens, who beat Serena Williams en route to the 2013 Australian Open semifinals, won nine of the last 10 games in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues before Isner beat Daniel Munoz-de La Nava 6-3, 6-4.

Stephens and Isner then combined to win the mixed doubles match for a 3-0 victory.

It was Spain’s second defeat in as many days in Perth after a 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic on Sunday.

At the Brisbane International, fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic beat 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 7-6 (6), No. 8 Carla Suarez beat Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan 6-2, 6-1 and No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia had a 6-4, 6-3 win over Britain’s Heather Watson.

Maria Sharapova, the four-time major winner who is making her return from a right shoulder injury, was due to play a night match in Brisbane. Sharapova, seeded third, is on the same half of the draw as top-ranked Serena Williams, the defending champion. No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka is on the bottom half of the draw.

The star on the men’s side is Roger Federer, who has been working with Stefan Edberg in preparation for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 13. Federer is the latest on a line of highly-ranked players who have hired past greats as coaches in the wake of Andy Murray’s success since he started working with Ivan Lendl. Novak Djokovic recently announced a partnership with Boris Becker – a move that surprised Federer.

”Not necessarily that he hired somebody . . . but Becker I was surprised,” Federer said. ”I didn’t think he wanted to become a coach. I didn’t expect to see him back on tour.

”I’m happy seeing former greats and legends excited to be doing such a job and wanting to help the next generations. To bring them back into the game, it’s a good thing.”

In men’s first-round matches, Jarkko Nieminen of Finland beat local hope James Duckworth 6-2, 6-3 but Marinko Matosevic ensured at least one Australian man advanced when he beat Julien Benneteau of France 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4).