Britain into first Hopman Cup final


PERTH, Australia: Great Britain have reached their first Hopman Cup final after Andy Murray and teenager Laura Robson beat Russia 2-1 in their final Group B tie here yesterday.The battle for the right to play Spain in today’s final went right down to the wire, with the British needing to win the mixed doubles against Elena Dementieva and Igor Andreev to stop qualifier Kazakhstan snatching top spot in the group.

However, with Robson again defying her inexperience, Murray in peak form and Andreev out of sorts, the British pair won a thrilling clash in a tense match tiebreak, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 10-6, to remain unbeaten in their group ties and earn the right to face Spanish duo Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Tommy Robredo.

Both Spain and Great Britain were unbeaten in the round robin group ties, with Robredo looking to become a dual winner of the event.

In the crucial mixed doubles against the Russians, the British made their move on the Andreev serve in the 10th game of the doubles match, breaking to secure the first set.

However, the Russians came from 4-1 down in the second set to level the tie, before the British steadied to break Kazakhstan hearts.

Seeded third, it is only Britain’s fourth appearance in the mixed teams tournament and first since they were represented by Jo Durie and Jeremy Bates in 1992.

In a good omen for the Melbourne-born Robson, only two 15-year-olds have previously played at the Hopman Cup and both Martina Hingis and Jelena Dokic won the mixed teams title.

In the women’s singles, Robson started well and pushed Dementieva early, but the Russian steadied to win the last eight games of the match and triumph 6-4, 6-0.

The men’s singles was a tennis lesson for the 35th-ranked Andreev as the imposing Murray simply blew him off the court 6-1, 6-0, hitting 16 winners to four.

It continued Murray’s impeccable form here and the world No.4 looks right on target for the upcoming Australian Open.

Kazakhstan, which beat Germany on Friday to stay in the hunt for a spot in the final, was left ruing a narrow loss to the British on Monday.

The Kazakh pairing of Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev, which qualified for the tournament by winning the Asia Hopman Cup, actually held match and tie point in the match tiebreak of a deciding mixed doubles rubber against the British, but couldn’t convert it.

Had they done so, they would have been unbeaten and playing Spain in the final. — AFP