News & Media

Hopman Cup 2009 (XXI)

Slovakians Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty go undefeated in their group matches and takes the cup with a 2-0 win in the final.

Date: 3-9 January 2009

Venue: Burswood Entertainment Complex


United States Russia France Australia
James Blake Marat Safin Gilles Simon Lleyton Hewitt
Meghann Shaughnessy Dinara Safina Alize Cornet Casey Dellacqua
Italy Germany Slovakia Chinese Taipei
Simone Bolelli Nicolas Kiefer Dominik Hrbaty Lu Yen-Hsun
Flavia Pennetta Sabine Lisicki Dominika Cibulkova Hsieh Su-Wei



Slovak Republic 2 d Russia 0

Dominika Cibulkova d Dinara Safina 6-7 (3) 6-1 6-4
Time: 148 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Dominik Hrbaty d Marat Safin 6-7 (5) 7-5, 7-6 (3)
Time: 192 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Session 10

Russia 2 d France 1

Dinara Safina d Alize Cornet 6-3 6-2
Time: 74 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Gilles Simon d Marat Safin 7-6(5) 6-3
Time: 80 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Safina/Safin d Cornet/Simon 6-4 6-3
Time: 73 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Italy 3 d Chinese Taipei 0

Flavia Pennetta d Hsieh Su-Wei 7-5 6-3
Time: 74 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Simone Bolelli d Yen-Hsun Lu 6-0 6-0 (walkover)

Pennetta/Bolelli d Hsieh/Lu 6-0 6-0 (walkover)

Session 9

USA 2 d Australia 1

Casey Dellacqua d Meghann Shaughnessy 6-3 6-4
Time: 62 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

James Blake d Lleyton Hewitt 6-2 6-2
Time: 63 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Shaughnessy/Blake d Dellacqua/Hewitt 6-3 5-7 7-6 (6)
Time: 98 minutes, Umpire: Louise Engzell

Slovak Republic 3 d Germany 0

Dominika Cibulkova d Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (3) 6-4
Time: 96 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Dominik Hrbarty d Nicolas Kiefer 6-3 6-0 (walkover)
Time: 31 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Cibulkova/Hrbaty d Lisicki/Kiefer 6-0 6-0 (walkover)

Session 8

Russia 2 d Chinese Taipei 1

Dinara Safina d Hsieh Su-Wei 4-6 6-2 7-5
Time: 125 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Marat Safin d Yen-Hsun Lu 7-6 (6) 7-5
Time: 112 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Hsieh/Lu d Safina/Safin 4-6 6-3 7-6(8)
Time: 69 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Session 7

Germany 2 d USA 1

Sabine Lisicki d Meghann Shaughnessy 4-6 6-0 6-4
Time: 107 minutes, Umpire: Louise Engzell

James Blake Nicolas Kiefer 7-6(3) 6-7(7) 6-4
Time: 150 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Lisicki/Kiefer d Shaughnessy/Blake 6-3 3-6 7-6
Time: 83 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Session 6

Slovak Republic 2 d Australia 1

Dominika Cibulkova d Casey Dellacqua 7-5 6-2
Time: 87 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Lleyton Hewitt d Dominik Hrbarty 7-6(4) 6-7(1) 6-4
Time: 179 minutes, Umpire: Louise Engzell

Cibulkova/Hrbaty d Dellacqua/Hewitt 6-7 (5) 6-3 7-6 (4)
Time: 114 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Session 5

Italy 2 d France 1

Alize Cornet d Flavia Pennetta 7-5 6-2
Time: 80 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Simone Bolelli d Gilles Simon 6-3 6-3
Time: 76 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Pennetta/Bolelli d Cornet/Simon 6-4 7-6 (2)
Time: 83 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Session 4

Slovak Republic 3 d USA 0

Dominika Cibulkova d Meghann Shaughnessy 6-2 6-2
Time: 78 minutes, Umpire: Louise Engzell

Dominik Hrbaty d James Blake 6-3 4-6 7-6 (1)
Time: 132 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Cibulkova/Hrbaty d Shaughnessy/Blake 6-4 7-6 (4)
Time: 99 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Session 3

Germany 2 d Australia 1

Sabine Lisicki d Casey Dellacqua 4-6 6-2 7-5
Time: 122 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Lleyton Hewitt d Nicolas Kiefer 6-7(6) 6-3 6-2
Time: 162 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Lisicki/Kiefer d Dellacqua/Hewitt 6-7 (2) 6-3 7-6 (5)
Time: 101 minutes, Umpire: Louise Engzell

Session 2

Russia 2 d Italy 1

Dinara Safina d Flavia Pennetta 7-5 6-3
Time: 93 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Marat Safin d Simone Bolelli 7-6 (5) 6-4
Time: 90 minutes, Umpire: Louise Engzell

Pennetta/Bolelli d Safina/Safin 5-7 6-4 7-6(2)
Time: 80 minutes, Umpire: Carlos Ramos

Session 1

France 3 d Chinese Taipei 0

Alize Cornet d Hsieh Su-Wei 6-4 6-4
Time: 84 minutes, Umpire: Kerrilyn Cramer

Gilles Simon d Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3 7-6 (6)
Time: 92 minutes, Umpire: John Blom

Cornet/Simon d Hsieh/Lu 6-4 7-6 (9)
Time: 96 minutes, Umpire: Louise Engzell

Match summaries


Slovak Republic 2 d Russia 0

AN incredible week of tennis at the Hyundai Hopman Cup has ended with the Slovak Republic winning an amazing final over Russia to become three-time champions.

The win for the Slovak Republic was set up with Dominika Cibulkova beating world No. 3 Russian Dinara Safina for the first time 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-4.

That match lasted 2hrs 28mins and then in a 2hr 32mins battle befitting of the final of one of the best Hyundai Hopman Cups, Dominik Hrbaty beat Marat Safin 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (3).

The win for world No. 19 teenager Cibulkova and veteran Hrbaty follows up the Slovak Republic’s win in 1998 and 2005.

Remarkably, the Slovak Republic has now won six straight Ties at Hopman Cups, having also gone through HHCXVII undefeated when Hrbaty won with Daniela Hantuchova.

It makes Hrbaty a dual winner to move into the company of Serena Williams, James Blake and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

It was a disappointing result for the Russian team, with the brother-sister team looking to win the Cup on their first, and possibly only, time teaming together. It is Safin’s best result still in four visits to Perth though.

In the women’s match, Cibulkova earned the first break of the match early in the first set, but Safina broke straight back.

From there, the opening set of the final went to a tie-break where Safina prevailed 7-3 and was handed the deciding point on a Cibulkova double fault.

The second set was a totally different story, with Cibulkova’s persistence, fitness and fighting qualities paying off as she wore down the patience of Safina. The Russian couldn’t hide her frustration as Cibulkova stunned her to take the set 6-1.

Cibulkova then began the third set with a break of serve and quickly raced to a 5-1 lead to appear on track for the biggest win of her career.

However, Safina has the talent to be world No. 1 and fought back hard to pull it back to 4-5.

However, Cibulkova had one more chance to serve for the match and after surviving a host of break back points; she held on and couldn’t have possibly been happier to beat Safina.

It all came down to yet another tussle between good friends, but fierce on-court rivals, Safina and Hrbaty. The pair had met 15 previous times, with Safin leading 8-7 which included a three-set win at Hopman Cup XIII.

The first set between the two veterans was just what you’d expect from two warhorses and went almost an hour. Things went on serve right through the set into a tie-break, and Safin opened up an early lead only for Hrbaty to pull it back to 5-5.

Safin then came up with an incredible shot to win it seven points to five. Hrbaty had connected well after a short Safin shot, but the big Russian chased it down and hit an awesome forehand crosscourt to cleanly beat the Slovak warrior.

In the second set, Hrbaty was able to gain the advantage with a break of serve and held on to win 7-5 and force a deciding third set.

If anyone thought either man would take a backward step in the third, they couldn’t be more wrong as Safin and Hrbaty went toe-to-toe all the way to the tie-break, which would either force a mixed doubles or hand Slovak Republic a third title.

The result went Hrbaty’s way as he claimed the set, match and title 7-3 in the tie-break to end a remarkable match, at a Cup which featured the best tennis imaginable.

The result means that from 16 meetings ranging everywhere from Davis Cups, French Opens, Australian Opens and Hopman Cups, Hrbaty and Safin have won eight apiece.

Session 10

  • Russia 2 d France 1
  • Italy 3 d Chinese Taipei 0

RUSSIA’s dream sibling duo of Dinara Safina and Marat Safin defeated France on the last night of qualifying, to advance to the Hyundai Hopman Cup final.

The two rubbers to one victory was enough to see Russia advance to take on the Slovak Republic with Safina and Safin not losing a Tie all week in Perth.

Coming into the last night Session, Russia was far from assured of victory with their opponents France, and Italy, also an outside chance who was taking on Chinese Taipei.

The Italian’s chances grew further when Flavia Pennetta beat Su-Wei Hsieh 7-5, 6-3 and were handed the rest of the Tie 6-0, 6-0 when Chinese Taipei withdrew due to a quad injury to Lu.

After Safina beat France’s Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-2 and Simon beat Safin 7-6 (5), 6-3, the result of the final all hinged on the mixed doubles.

To work out the possible result was no easy task, but basically a Russian win by any form would them through; a French straight sets win would see them through and a French three-set win would see Italy into the final.

France made a bright start as well to keep the prospect of a first Cup title alive, but the Russian powerhouses soon took over to win 6-4, 6-3 and give Safin the chance to begin his final year on Tour in perfect fashion.

It was just the result the Safin’s were after on their first ever time teaming together, and Marat was delighted to seal the place in the final in the doubles.

“That’s why I had to be focused to play a nice game, even though I was a little bit nervous too. They (France) were basically more relaxed and didn’t have any expectations, and then they were on top before we realised what happened,” Safin said.

“Then we decided to pick it up and we started to play better. We started to move better, to return better and everything came together well.”

Session 9

  • USA 2 d Australia 1
  • Slovak Republic 3 d Germany 0

THE Slovak Republic’s Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty have advanced to the Hyundai Hopman Cup XXI final after Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer went down injured, while the United States downed Australia.

The Slovak team will now look to win a third Cup title against the Group B winner to be decided tonight, with Russia, France and Italy all still alive.

Cibulkova and Hrbaty automatically advanced to the final after Kiefer suffered what could be a serious ankle injury early in his men’s match.

After Cibulkova downed Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (3), 6-4, the men’s match loomed as a decider as to who made the final, and that’s exactly how it turned out.

Kiefer, fresh off two tough three-set losses to Lleyton Hewitt and James Blake, started strongly to be up 3-1 and serving for a 4-1 advantage. After serving, he moved forward for a volley but rolled his ankle and was left lying on the court.

He was unable to move for sometime, with fellow Tour veteran Hrbaty lending a generous hand until further attention arrived. From there, Kiefer left in a wheelchair to go to hospital for scans on his ankle.

It was a disappointing finish to what could have been a classic Tie to decide who made the final, but Cibulkova and Hrbaty advance to the final now with wins during the week over the United States, Australia and Germany.

Cibulkova and Lisicki began the ladies match after wins over Meghann Shaughnessy and Casey Dellacqua, and the 19-year-old rising stars had a good tussle.

Lisicki had her chances, but the ability of Cibulkova to run every ball down and constantly get it back into court proved too much, as the Slovak Republic representative scored the two-set win.

After the match, Hrbaty was disappointed to see Kiefer go down, but was obviously happy to now have the chance for a second Cup win after not feeling the best.

“I was quite sick this morning with a head cold and I still have swelling in my face. I had played two tough matches when I didn’t get to bed until after three in the morning, but I’m still happy that we are in the final. We will do everything we can to win now,” Hrbaty said.

“I hate it also. It happened to me once when I was here before, but it’s really bad luck for him in the first tournament of the year. He was working really hard, played well in the matches before and I hope he will be OK.”

In the day’s other Session, the United States beat Australia 2-1. Casey Dellacqua scored her first Cup win when she got the better of Meghann Shaughnessy 6-3, 6-4. James Blake then proved too good for Lleyton Hewitt, winning 6-2, 6-2 after the Australian won his first two matches on return from injury.

The Tie then came down to the mixed doubles, with the Americans prevailing in the Match Tie-break. That result means Australia finished last in Group A, but it has been an unlucky week with the crowd favourites losing all mixed matches in the Match Tie-break.

Session 8

  • Russia 2 d Chinese Taipei 1

RUSSIA’s brother-sister dream team of Marat Safin and Dinara Safina has survived a strong challenge from Chinese Taipei to win 2-1 and remain unbeaten at the Hyundai Hopman Cup.

Coming off an opening Tie win over Italy, the Russians didn’t have it all their own way against Su-Wei Hsieh and Yen-Hsun Lu, but won both singles matches before losing the mixed doubles in a match tie-break.

However, they will need to back up against the highly-rated French team of Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon on Thursday night to guarantee qualification.

A French victory will mean that France, Russia and Italy could all be on two victories by the end of the Round-Robin series and the finalist from Group A will be decided by the calculator.

World No. 3 Safina began slowly against Hsieh, who made the fourth round of last year’s Australian Open, losing the first set 4-6. She fought back strongly taking the second 6-2, but then once again struggled in the third. She battled through to claim it 7-5.

Safin then stepped back onto court to see if he could continue his form from Sunday and while Lu gave him a good fight, Safin prevailed 7-6 (6), 7-5. Chinese Taipei’s top-ranked player was serving for the second set, only for Safin to break his serve and win the last three games.

Safin, who has announced that 2009 is his final year on Tour, didn’t find things easy against Lu, but is delighted to begin his Australian summer with two wins.

“He’s a very complete player, is very smart, fast and good from all the sides. He seems to read the game well, his anticipation is incredible and it’s quite tough to break him,” Safin said.

“I didn’t have any expectations coming here because I only had two weeks of practice after not touching a racquet for two months. I didn’t even expect to win a set, so to win two matches is a bonus and it’s an impressive performance so far.”

Both countries returned for the mixed doubles to make it three straight nights going well beyond midnight, and it went the distance. Russia claimed the first set 6-4, but then lost the second 3-6 and match tie-break 10 points to eight.

Tonight’s Session to decide the finalist from their Group will now be sure to showcase some tremendous tennis.

The Russia-France Tie will be on Centre Court, with Italy taking on Chinese Taipei on Court One, but with three teams still in the running it will be a Session worth checking out.

Session 7

  • Germany 2 d USA 1

GERMANY has held off the United States in Session 7 of the Hyundai Hopman Cup to be right in contention for the final.

Germany has now won both its Ties the same way, with Sabine Lisicki winning her singles, Nicolas Kiefer losing an incredibly competitive three-set men’s match, and then claiming the mixed doubles in the match tie-break.

Germany now plays the Slovak Republic on Thursday’s day Session, with the winner of Group B to come from those two.

Meanwhile, the United States team of Meghann Shaughnessy and James Blake plays Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and Lleyton Hewitt, but neither team is in contention for the final having lost both Ties so far.

The German-US battle began with Lisicki accounting for Shaughnessy in three sets, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4, before Blake prevailed in an incredible battle with another former world No. 4 Kiefer, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (7), 6-4. Germany won the mixed doubles 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (10/7) to claim the Tie.

Fresh off a win over Dellacqua and with Shaughnessy losing to Dominika Cibulkova, Lisicki would have liked her chances coming into the women’s singles.

That would have been even more the case when she led 2-0, but Shaughnessy then won three straight games to lead 3-2. From there, the American claimed the opening set 6-4.

It was largely on the back of unforced errors from the German, though, and a double fault which handed Shaughnessy the break.

Lisicki was then on fire in the second, winning it 6-0 in a tremendous display of the full ability the 19-year-old has. The third set was a tougher battle, with Shaughnessy again finding some form, but Lisicki held on 6-4 to win a near two-hour contest.

The men’s matches in Group A have all been enthralling so far and the Blake-Kiefer game was no exception.

Blake claimed the first set in the tie-break seven points to three, and the second again went to the tie-break as neither player could manage a break of serve.

Blake then had a match point at 7-6 in the tie-break on Kiefer’s serve but the German came up with his 15th ace. He came up with another huge serve to earn a set point himself and sealed it with a superb backhand drive down the line.

Blake claimed the first break of the match on his 18th break point to open the third set after a line call that earned the ire of Kiefer. Blake went on to lead 3-1 and held on to win the set 6-4 and match in 2hrs 30mins.

The doubles yet again went into a deciding match tie-break after both nations split the first two sets 6-3. The Germans won the decider 10 points to seven to win the crucial Tie.

Session 6

  • Slovak Republic 2 d Australia 1

THE Slovak Republic has ended Australia’s Cup hopes while on the same history-making night strengthened its own chances of claiming a third victory.

In front of a massive crowd of 8122, Session 6 of Hyundai Hopman Cup XXI finished after 1.30am, the latest ever concluding time and it wasn’t the ideal ending for the home nation.

The Slovak Republic team of Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty downed Casey Dellacqua and Lleyton Hewitt 2-1.

Cibulkova began brightly for the Slovak team, beating Dellacqua 7-5, 6-2.

If Hewitt’s hip was giving him any concern coming into the Cup, it has received an incredible workout in two straight days. On Monday, he beat Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer in three sets and now prevailed over Hrbaty 7-6 (4), 6-7 (1), 6-4 in 2hrs 59 minutes.

The Tie then came down to a deciding mixed doubles which went to the third. Cibulkova and Hrbaty won the super tie-break 10-4 to take the match 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (10/4).

The loss ends Australia’s final hopes, but puts the Slovak Republic in a tremendous position. All that is required is to beat Germany on Thursday and they are in, also giving Hrbaty a chance at a second Cup.

Dellacqua’s second match in her home-town again began promisingly, as she raced out to a 4-2 lead in the first set.

However, she couldn’t maintain the advantage as Cibulkova continually ran everything down and got just about every ball back into play – that wasn’t one of Dellacqua’s 47 unforced errors for the match.

Cibulkova went on to claim the set 7-5 before capitalising on Dellacqua’s mistakes yet again in the second. After leading 40-0 in a game that would have taken it to 2-2, Dellacqua lost the next nine straight points to find herself down 1-4.

She couldn’t recover from there as Cibulkova took the set 6-2 to remain undefeated at the Cup.

The men’s match was a classic between two of the best fighters the modern game has seen.

While Hrbaty has been sidelined for much of the last two years with injury, and Hewitt since the Olympic Games with a hip problem, the two put on a marathon effort.

Both did it off little rest as well having played long matches the previous day, but that didn’t harm the quality of the tennis.

The first set remained on serve the whole way, but Hewitt quickly opened up a 4-1 advantage in the tie-break, and took it seven points to four.

The former world No. 1 then looked to have the match secure at 5-2 in the second, and still when serving for the match at 5-3, but as he has done his whole career, Hrbaty would not surrender.

In a blink of an eye, he was back even at five games apiece and it went to another tie-break.

He then dominated to win it 7-1 and forced a deciding set. With Australia’s final hopes resting on the third set, Hewitt was able to take it out 6-4 to remain unbeaten against Hrbaty and force a deciding mixed doubles.

The doubles began at midnight and it was a tough and even first set. The Slovak team did get the advantage to give Hrbaty the chance to serve for the set at 5-4, but the Australians broke his serve.

From there it went to a tie-break, which Australia claimed seven points to five. Slovakia then won the second set 6-3 and super tie-break comfortably 10-4 to have won five of six matches in two Ties so far.

Session 5

  • Italy 2 d France 1

ITALY’s Flavia Pennetta and Simone Bolelli have kept its Hyundai Hopman Cup alive, upsetting the dynamic French duo of Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon in Session 5.

France came into the Cup as favourites with the bookies and backed that up with a 3-0 win on Saturday over Chinese Taipei, but Bolelli, and Pennetta and Bolelli as a doubles combination weren’t ready to be out of contention.

Cornet claimed the women’s singles over Pennetta 7-5, 6-2, but then Bolelli scored his first win over a top 10 player when he stunned Simon 6-3, 6-3. The Italians then secured the win 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) to move both nations to a win apiece from two Ties.

To be a chance of making the final, Italy now needs to beat Chinese Taipei on Thursday night but hopes that other results fall its way. If Russia beats Chinese Taipei on Wednesday and France on Thursday, the Russians are in but a loss in either will throw things wide open.

Cornet and Pennetta are both in the women’s top 16, so it was always going to be a match to savour and the Frenchwoman got off to a bright start going up 5-2 in the first set.

Pennetta fought back hard, though, to get the set back to 5-5. However, Cornet recovered from some breathing difficulties and lapse in form to claim the final two games to win the opening set 7-5.

She then started the second just as brightly to take a 4-1 lead and this time didn’t surrender it, winning 6-2 to keep France undefeated at this year’s Cup.

That was about to change, though, with Italian Bolelli upsetting Simon 6-3, 6-3 in one of the biggest wins of his career. It’s the first time he has beaten a top 10 player, and after reaching a career-high ranking of 39 in 2008, he’s a definite player on the rise.

That left the Tie to come down to a deciding mixed doubles and the Italians claimed the first set 6-4, largely due to Pennetta’s doubles expertise.

France looked set to force a deciding set when leading 5-3 in the second set, but the Italians got back into it to lead 6-5 after Cornet served a double fault to leave it to Pennetta to serve out the match.

She wasn’t able to do it and the set went to a tie-break where Italy dominated winning seven points to two.

Session 4

  • Slovak Republic 3 d USA 0

ON the back of Dominik Hrbaty upsetting James Blake, the Slovak Republic beat the United States 3-0 to start its Hyundai Hopman Cup in fine style.

The evening session got off to a later start with the Australia-Germany Tie lasting seven hours, but when it got under way the team of Dominika Cibulkova and Hrbaty won both singles encounters over Meghann Shaughnessy and Blake.

The Slovak Republic then claimed the mixed doubles as well in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

World No. 19 Cibulkova got the Slovak Republic off to a dominant start with a commanding performance beating Shaughnessy 6-2, 6-2 in little over an hour.

Cibulkova showed her class in a display that shows she is more than capable of matching the best women on Tour. She converted 6-of-7 break points and her whole game was well and truly on-song.

Shaughnessy struggled, though, having played just five matches since injuring her knee on the Gold Coast last January, days after stepping in for Serena Williams against India to kick off last year’s Cup.

Blake (No. 10) came into the battle with Hrbaty (No. 250) ranked some 240 spots higher and was yet to lose to Hrbaty on Tour, but the Slovak veteran has not been one of the most tenacious players in the world since debuting in 1996 by luck.

The two former Cup winners fought it out all the way to a third set tie-break.

Hrbaty claimed the first set 6-3, but Blake hit back to win the second 6-4. Hrbaty dominated the tie-break in the third, though, to lead 6-0 and win it 7-1 to secure a crucial Tie for his country.

It was a tremendous battle between two players that have thrilled audiences right round the world, and won three Hyundai Hopman Cups between them.

A clearly frustrated Blake wasn’t able to hold his nerve long enough, though, as the tenacious Hrbaty proved exactly why he stuck around for another year on Tour.

The win also keeps alive Hrbaty’s chances of joining the USA’s Serena Williams, Blake and Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario as the only dual winners of the Cup.

Slovak Republic will have little chance to celebrate victory, though, as their Cup campaign continues on Tuesday night against Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and Lleyton Hewitt, who lost a seven-hour battle with Germany in Monday’s day Session.

Session 3

  • Germany 2 d Australia 1

GERMANY has beaten Australia 2-1 in an enthralling battle with all three matches going to three sets in Session 3 of the Hyundai Hopman Cup.

The Session in front of a packed Burswood Dome crowd of 7433 got off to the perfect start for local girl Dellacqua, winning the first set 6-4.

Lisicki dominated the second, though, to win the set 6-2 and claimed the third 7-5 on the back of 12 of the last 13 points, and last four games.

Hewitt was playing his first match in 146 days after hip surgery and lost the first set to Kiefer in a tie-breaker. He got right back on track in the next two taking them out 6-3, 6-2 to keep his undefeated record over Kiefer.

Germany then won the mixed doubles 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (10/5) to get its Hyundai Hopman Cup campaign off to a winning start. With the closeness of the Tie, the Aussies are far from out of the tournament though.

Despite the loss, it was Dellacqua’s first match since September after being sidelined with a shoulder injury and it was a tremendous hit out. She can now look forward to taking on Meghann Shaughnessy and Dominika Cibulkova to complete her first Cup.

The 23-year-old Perth product couldn’t have possibly made a better start to her Hyundai Hopman Cup career, jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the first. Lisicki did get it back to 4-4, but a break and hold of serve by Dellacqua saw her claim the set 6-4.

However, Lisicki didn’t reach the top 50 in the world in 2008 by fluke and the German dominated the second set to claim it 6-2.

She had the chance to serve it out at 5-1, but three double faults ruined that opportunity. Lisicki broke Dellacqua’s serve on the next game, though, to take the set.

Dellacqua then began the third set in the exact same way as the first racing to a 3-1 lead. She consolidated to 4-2 and 5-3 before the pressure was on in front of her home crowd to serve out the match.

Lisicki came up with some tremendous winners to break Dellacqua’s serve, though, and tied things up at 5-5. The German then held serve and broke again to love to claim the set 7-5. In that run, Lisicki won 12 of the last 13 points to claim the victory.

Hewitt began brightly going up 3-1 in the first set against Kiefer, but the German then won three straight games. Hewitt broke Kiefer’s serve again to hold a 6-5 advantage, but Kiefer broke back to force a tie-break and won that eight points to six.

Hewitt started the second set brightly again going out to a 2-0 lead, but Kiefer got it back to 2-2. Hewitt dominated from there, though, to take the set 6-3.

In the deciding third, Hewitt got out to a 3-0 lead and held on to win it 6-2 and force a deciding mixed doubles.

It was the first time both teamed together and the Aussies started brightly to secure a 3-0 lead, but that was soon gone with Kiefer and Lisicki winning the next four games. From there, the Aussies came back to have the scores tied at five.

It went to a tie-break and Australia dominated seven points to two. Germany went on to win the second set 6-3 and then the Match Tie-Break 10-5 to claim the Tie for the Germans.

Session 2

  • Russia 2 d Italy 1

RUSSIA’s dynamic brother-sister duo of Dinara Safina and Marat Safin got off to a winning Hyundai Hopman Cup start downing Italy 2-1 on Sunday’s Session 2.

It is the first time Safina and older brother Safina have teamed together anywhere in the world and they secured the win with victories in their singles encounters over Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Simone Bolelli.

The women’s match was a close fought affair between the world’s No. 3 and 13 with Safina having to come from behind in each set to win 7-5, 6-3.

Fresh off the plane from Russia into Perth on Saturday night, Safin wore some war wounds from his New Year’s back home but did not drop serve against Bolelli to win 7-6 (5), 6-4 on the back of 14 aces.

The Italians then got a measure of revenge winning the mixed doubles 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (10/2) in a result that keeps them well in the hunt for the final.

While Safina won the women’s singles in straight sets, it was a tremendously see-sawing battle. Pennetta opened up a 3-1 lead in the first set and consolidated that to 5-3, but then the Russian won the next four games to claim it 7-5.

It ended in a cruel way when Pennetta was called for the first foot fault of the tournament.

Pennetta again started the second set in bright fashion to take a commanding 3-0 advantage after winning the first two games without Safina winning a point, but the Russian then dominated winning six straight games to take the set 6-3, and sew up the win for the Russians.

In the men’s match, Safin and Bolelli held serve right through the first set to send it into a tie-break. Safin’s serve was well on song with 10 aces and that helped him claim the tie-breaker 7-5.

Having scored a win in their only previous meeting, Bolelli wasn’t about to go away, though, and the two held serve through the first six games of the second set before Safin scored the first break.

It came in the seventh game to give him a 4-3 lead and Safin consolidated to go up 5-3. Safin went on to hold serve and break Bolelli again to take the second set 6-4 to clinch the Tie.

Pennetta and Bolelli were desperate to do well in the doubles and started well, taking the set 7-5. However, Safina and Safin hit back in the second to win it 6-4 and force a deciding Match tie-break.

When there, the Italian duo dominated to take it out 10-2 to score the victory.

Italy next plays in Tuesday’s day Session against France, while Russia has until Wednesday evening before taking on Chinese Taipei.

Session 1

  • France 3 d Chinese Taipei 0

FRANCE has started its quest for a first Hyundai Hopman Cup title perfectly, defeating Chinese Taipei 3-0 to claim the opening Tie of the 21st staging of the tournament.

France comes into the Cup as the No. 3 seeds but with an incredibly talented team consisting of 18-year-old world No. 16 Alize Cornet and world No. 7 Gilles Simon.

The Chinese Taipei team return after an impressive outing last year and career-best years on Tour, but Su-Wei Hsieh and Yen-Hsu Lu just fell short against their higher-ranked players.

Cornet began with a solid 6-4, 6-4 win over Hsieh, with Simon’s 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) win over Lu tying things up for France. The French also went on to win the mixed doubles 6-4, 7-6 (11-9).

While Simon has been in Perth acclimatising for much of the week, Cornet only arrived on Friday but is glad to begin with a good win.

“I just arrived yesterday so I felt a bit sleepy, but it’s good because I could play a match and I won it in two sets. It’s really positive to win in two sets against this kind of player because she played really good,” Cornet said.

Simon wasn’t overly happy with his performance in the second set, which went to a tie-break, but was happy to escape with the straight-sets win.

“In the first set I played great tennis and then I was up 3-1 in the second but lost my concentration. He played better as well and finally I was a little bit lucky because I think I should have lost the second set,” Simon said.

In the women’s match, the first set remained on serve through the first eight games until Cornet was able to grab the first break of the tournament to go up 5-4. She then went on to hold serve to close out the first set before Hsieh required some treatment on her neck.

Hsieh was fine to continue soon after but Cornet was able to also maintain her slight advantage in a tight set, to claim it 6-4 to close out the win on her first appearance at the Hyundai Hopman Cup.

Simon then stepped on a court for the first time since the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in November to take on Lu, who had got as high as 61 in the ranking after appearing at last year’s Cup.

Simon quickly shot out to a 4-1 lead in the first set and took it out 6-3 to be looking in the form of 2008 that saw him become the only player to beat Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Simon again looked on track to dominate the second set racing to a 3-1 lead, but then Lu showed his grit by winning three straight games to take a 4-3 lead. Games then remained on serve as the two went into the first tie-break of the tournament.

It was a hard-fought decider as well with Simon eventually prevailing 8-6 to claim the win and the Tie for France.

Having played two Asian Hopman Cups and one Hyundai Hopman Cup together already, the Chinese Taipei’s doubles prowess was on show early racing to a 4-2 lead, but Cornet and Simon then won four straight games to take the set 6-4.

It was a tight battle in the second with it going to a tie-breaker, in which Cornet and Simon triumphed in 11-9 to wrap up the Tie 3-0.