Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013 top seeds Serbia are one step closer to Saturday night’s final after defeating Australia 2-1.
It all came down to the mixed after the singles rubbers were split between the two countries. First Bernard Tomic upset world No.1 Novak Djokovic, then former No.1 Ana Ivanovic kept Serbia’s hopes alive with a straight-sets win over 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty, setting up a live mixed doubles rubber.
In an entertaining encounter Serbia finally repelled the challenge of the young Aussies in the deciding match tiebreak, running out 6-4 6-7(8) [10-8] winners.
Serbia now moves to the top of Group A with two wins from their two matches, while Australia has one win from its two matches.
The Australians will play their final round-robin match on Thursday night against Italy, while Serbia takes on Germany on Friday night.
Ivanovic makes it 1-1
By Dave Lindsay
Ana Ivanovic has sent Serbia into a live mixed doubles with a comprehensive straight-sets victory over Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.
The former world number one controlled the match from start to finish and, despite failing at her first attempt to serve out the match, cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win.
In front of a capacity crowd at Perth Arena, Barty started the match confidently, matching Ivanovic’s ground strokes and holding serve with relative ease.
However, the Serbian stepped up the pressure in the sixth game of the set, breaking the young Australian’s serve before repeating the dose in her next service game to close out the set 6-2.
Ivanovic maintained the momentum in the early stages of the second set, breaking the serve of Barty once more to race to a 3-0 lead.
Double faults and unforced errors crept into Barty’s game as Ivanovic kept up the pressure and the match appeared all over with the Serbian serving for the match at 5-1.
Barty then threw caution to the wind and took advantage of some hesitation in Ivanovic’s game and broke back to keep the match alive.
When serving for the match a second time, Ivanovic maintained her composure to close the match out and secure the victory.
The serving of Ivanovic was a highlight, overcoming some customary errant ball tosses to crack nine aces compared to the Australian’s three.
Earlier in the evening Bernard Tomic stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in an outstanding display, winning 6-4 6-4 to give the Australians an unexpected lead in the tie.
The live mixed doubles is next on court with a win crucial to the finals hopes of both nations.