Poland has won its first Hopman Cup title after beating the USA in a suspense-filled mixed doubles in tonight’s final.
The first-time champion nation went ahead 1-0 after Agnieszka Radwanska shocked 18-time major champion Serena Williams 6-4 6-7(3) 6-1, but John Isner ensured the higher-ranked pairing stayed alive with a 7-6 (10) 6-4 win over Jerzy Janowicz.
Poland prevailed 7-5 6-3 in the deciding mixed doubles to snare their maiden Hopman Cup crown, but the final rubber wasn’t without drama.
With the US 2-1 down in the second set and staring at defeat, a point had to be replayed after Janowicz prematurely celebrated after he thought both Isner and Williams had struck the ball.
Williams believed the US should have been awarded the point due to Janowicz’s distraction and a five-minute discussion involving all four players, the chair umpire and the ITF referee ensued.
The Americans ended up winning the replay, but a few games later Williams twice smashed her racquet on the court after missing a simple backhand.
Radwanska leapt into the arms of Janowicz once the pair secured the Cup.
Williams, a two-time Hopman Cup champion, entered her singles match having won all of her previous eight contests against Radwanska.
Such was the dominance, Radwanska had only ever won one set against the American – in the 2012 Wimbledon final.
But Radwanska came out with all guns blazing in Perth, the world No.5 even serving for the match in the second set.
Williams broke back before winning the second-set tiebreak, but Radwanska came up with the goods when it mattered most in the third to secure the win in 125 minutes.
“It doesn’t matter what the score is. It’s never over, she’s a great fighter,” Radwanska said after the singles match.
“I’m just very happy that I could come back after that second set and play my good game in the third set.
“Wins like this always give a lot of confidence.”
Radwanska was part of the Polish team that lost last summer’s Hopman Cup final to France and she would have been feeling a sense of deja vu after watching Janowicz falter.
The 203cm giant blew five set points in the first-set tiebreak, with Isner cruising to victory from that point on.
But the Polish pair produced the goods when it mattered most in the mixed doubles, denying the US a record seventh team title.
“It was really great especially there is always strong teams here and the title means so much for us,” said Radwanska.
“(It’s) a really great start to the season, it was really a lot of fun to play here, especially with Aga and we had a lot of fun and on top of it we played against some really great players,” added Janowicz.
“We played against almost the best players in the world so it’s a really exciting moment for me.”