By Dave Lindsay
Serbia will take on Spain in Saturday nightʼs Hyundai Hopman Cup final following a brutal display of tennis by former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic, destroying Tatjana Malek 6-0 6-1 in just over half an hour.
Ivanovic conceded only 15 points in the match, continuing her outstanding form this week, as she aims to break back into the worldʼs top 10.
The Serbianʼs victory follows earlier wins over Francesca Schiavone and Ashleigh Barty, dropping only 10 games in six sets of tennis for the week.
True to form, Ivanovic made a blistering start to the match, holding serve to 15 and then breaking Malek in her first service game.
It took only 16 minutes for Ivanovic to claim the first set as the German struggled to match her opponentʼs power and consistency from the baseline.
Malek, who replaced the injured Andrea Petkovic after the first round, finally hit the scoreboard when she held her first service game of the second set. However the rhythm of
Ivanovic wasnʼt broken and she swept through the next five games to complete a clinical victory.
Ivanovicʼs victory was almost a carbon copy of her partner Novak Djokovicʼs efforts earlier in the night when he swept aside German veteran Tommy Haas 6-2 6-0.
Tomorrow night will be Serbiaʼs second Hyundai Hopman Cup final from four appearances. The No.1 seeds were runners-up in 2008 when the world No.1 partnered Jelena Jankovic and the Djokovic-Ivanovic combination also qualified for the 2011 final but were forced to withdraw due to an injury to Ivanovic.
In the mixed doubles Tommy Haas withdrew with a toe injury and was replaced by Thanasi Kokkinakis, the 16-year-old Australian junior who filled in for John Isner earlier in the week.
“After you get such a whooping from the world No.1, I decided to leave it to someone else,” Haas said.
“I’ll take a few days off, go on vacation, and think deeply about whether I should play tennis.
“But all joking aside, I did have the injury for the last few days. I wasn’t even sure if I could come out today.”
With Serbia already through to the final, Djokovic, Ivanovic, Malek and Kokkinakis put on an entertaining exhibition that was ultimately won by the polished Serbians, 6-2 7-5.
Final: Serbia v Spain
A few tickets remain for Saturday night’s final, go to ticketek.com.au. Play will begin at 5.45 pm at the Perth Arena.