US Captures Hopman Cup
Published January 09, 2011 12:00
PERTH, Australia - They came into the Hopman Cup unseeded - and as something of a scratch side after the withdrawal of Serena Williams - but the US team of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and John Isner emerged dazzling winners at the 23rd staging of the prestigious mixed team competition.
To claim the trophy for their country for a record sixth time, the Americans beat Belgium's Justine Henin and Ruben Bemelmans by two rubbers to one. Henin opened proceedings against Mattek-Sands with a 76(6) 63 win, after which Isner beat Bemelmans 63 64 to level the tie. That meant the title would be decided by the mixed doubles, which the US dominated, 63 64.
''It's been an amazing week. It's my first time in Perth and I've really enjoyed myself. It's funny, I saw this (diamond tennis ball trophy) actually when I first got here and I thought it was the best trophy in sports,'' said Mattek-Sands, who got the call-up in December.
''This is one of the best run events of the year," the world No.58 added. "It's fantastic. There was a really strong field this year, there was great players; Ana, Justine, Djokovic, Hewitt. I hope everyone enjoyed watching some great tennis this week.''
Isner, also making his debut at the Burswood Dome, added: ''I've got to thank Bethanie; her back's got to be hurting from carrying me all week. She was rock solid all week long."
During the week the Americans dominated Group B with wins over France's Kristina Mladenovic and Nicolas Mahut, 3-0, Italy's Francesca Schiavone and Potito Starace, 2-1, and Great Britain's Laura Robson and Andy Murray, 3-0.
They advanced to the final after the Serbian team of Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic withdrew when Ivanovic suffered a slight stomach tear.
Belgium put together a strong week in their own right, bouncing back from losing to Australia's Alicia Molik and Lleyton Hewitt to beat Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva and Andrey Golubev 3-0 and then Serbia 2-1.
The US first won the Hopman Cup in 1997, represented by Chanda Rubin and Justin Gimelstob. In 2003, Serena Williams and James Blake were successful, and Blake was back the following year to win with Lindsay Davenport.
Lisa Raymond and Taylor Dent triumphed in 2006 and the fifth title came in 2008 when Williams returned to be victorious alongside Mardy Fish.