Australia opens Hopman Cup with win

Australia beat Germany 2-0 in the Hopman Cup mixed team competition on Saturday after Andrea Petkovic had to retire from her singles match with a right knee injury.

Bernard Tomic had given Australia a 1-0 lead with by beating Tommy Haas 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-5, but Petkovic looked likely to force the series into a decisive mixed doubles when she won the first set 6-4 against 16-year old Ashleigh Barty. However, she then called for treatment and was in tears as her right knee was bandaged, and was not able to continue.

Earlier, Tomic hit 14 aces to overcome his more experienced opponent. Haas led the first set tiebreaker 6-1 before Tomic swept the next seven points. A forehand error at 4-3 gave Haas the only break of the second set, and the German broke again early in the third. But Tomic leveled at 5-5 and then broke again before clinching the win on his third match point.

”It was a very tough first set and my first to play for a few months,” Tomic said after claiming his first victory since September. ”It was difficult to play Tommy. He played really well at the beginning of the tiebreak and I don’t know how I got out of that.”

Also Saturday, Spain clinched a 2-1 victory over South Africa after winning the mixed doubles 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-8.

Kevin Anderson had given South Africa the lead by beating Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (5), 6-4, before Annabel Medina Garrigues leveled the contest with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Chanelle Scheepers. The Spanish duo then outlasted the South Africans in the Champions tiebreaker of the doubles match.

Anderson held two set points at 5-4 in his the first set of his singles match but made errors on both before winning the tiebreaker. The South African then broke at 4-4 in the second before serving out the match.

Medina Garrigues also had to fight hard for her victory, against an opponent who had won their only previous meeting.

Scheepers broke first to lead 3-2 before the Spaniard leveled at 4-4. Medina Garrigues then saved two break points in the next game before breaking again for the set.

Scheepers maintained the pressure in the second as Medina Garrigues faced eight break points. However, the Spaniard broke for 3-1, fought off five break points to hold for 5-2 and broke serve again when she converted her second match point.

”I was a little bit lucky,” Medina Garrigues said. ”The doubles was also tough, one and a half hours, but Fernando was playing good and now we have to recover (to face France) tomorrow.”