PERTH: Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet clinched France’s second Hopman Cup title, beating Americans CoCo Vandeweghe and Jack Sock 4-1, 4-3 in the deciding mixed doubles match in the tournament final yesterday.
Earlier, Vandeweghe beat Mladenovic 6-4, 7-5 after Gasquet saved a match point in the third set tiebreaker and held on for a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (6) win over Sock to give France the early lead in the exhibition tournament.
The mixed doubles was played under the Fast4 format of four-game sets, no deuces and a five-point tiebreaker when sets are tied at 3. France shut out the American team in the second-set tiebreaker 5-0.
The French pair had defeated Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the deciding mixed doubles on Friday night to advance to the final. The US has won the Hopman Cup a record six times in the tournament’s 29-year history.
“I was just trying to keep the team alive, that’s the whole concept out here,” Vandeweghe said after saving break points in two consecutive service games in the second set to send the final to the mixed doubles decider.
Sock broke Gasquet’s service in the 11th game of the deciding set of the opening men’s singles, helped by Gasquet’s double-fault on break point. But Gasquet came back to break Sock in the next game and send it to a tiebreaker.
Gasquet said he didn’t panic when he faced a match point. “I tried to focus on myself and be tough mentally,” Gasquet said. “It’s very difficult. I know him very well. He’s a great friend of mine. But on the court, it doesn’t count.” The men’s match lasted 2 1/2 hours.
“I let it slip away at the end,” Sock said. “I was holding fairly comfortably for a while. So when I got the break I felt pretty good about it. And then later when I had the match point, I played way too tentatively.”
Organizers announced earlier yesterday that the tournament would remain in the Western Australian state capital for at least the next five years. The state government extended its contract with the International Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia to host the exhibition event at Perth Arena until at least 2022. – AP