Tue, Jan 04, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Australians overcome Slovakians in Hopman

AP , PERTH, AUSTRALIAAP, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALANDAP, GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIAAP, HONG KONG

Mark Philippoussis and Alicia Molik beat Slovakia's mixed doubles pair of Daniela Hantuchova and Dominik Hrbaty 6-7 (9), 6-3 and 11-9 in the super tiebreaker yesterday to give Australia a 2-1 win in the Hopman Cup.

The Australian pair held off a match point in the super tiebreaker while Philippoussis, serving for the match, lost both his points on serve to hand the advantage back to the Slovakians.

But Molik saved the match point with a strong crosscourt return that Hantuchova put into the net and the Australians won the final two points to take the match before 8,000 spectators at the Burswood Dome.

Molik had earlier given Australia a 1-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Hantuchova before Hrbaty leveled for Slovakia with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Philippoussis.

Russia played Germany in a later match Monday. The defending champion US, represented by Meghann Shaughnessy and James Blake, plays the Netherlands on today and Italy, 0-1 after losing to Argentina, takes on Germany.

Hrbaty, who won three tournaments last year, raced to a 5-2 lead in the first set after breaking Philippoussis' serve three straight times.

But Philippoussis fought back to level the set at 5-5.

Philippoussis, who lost in the first round of each of his last five tournaments of 2004, lost his service again in the next game and Hrbaty held his to take the set on a controversial call.

Hrbaty was awarded an ace on set point despite the ball appearing to land wide. Both players stood still waiting for a fault call which never came.

Hrbaty broke Philippoussis in the third game of the second set, then again in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead en route to the win.

"He didn't miss too much on the baseline today but I was able to stay up on him," Hrbaty said.

Molik crashed into the umpire's chair chasing a short ball late in the first set.

The Australian held a set point at 5-3 on Hantuchova's serve when she careered into the chair, bringing back memories of last year when she sustained a serious foot injury in the same event.

But Molik shook off the incident, smashing a crosscourt winner on the next point before claiming the first set.

The second set was on serve until the eighth game, when Hantuchova netted a backhand to give Molik the service break.

Top-seeded Amy Frazier advanced to the second round of the US$140,000 ASB Women's Classic tennis tournament yesterday with a 6-3, 6-3 win over fellow American Laura Granville.

Frazier, 32, took only an hour to beat Granville in their first meeting in a WTA event. The pair were among five Americans in action in six singles matches on the tournament's opening day at Stanley Street.

Frazier has played the New Zealand tournament twice previously, losing in the second round both times.

Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela, seeded seventh, was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Martina Sucha of Slovakia.

Fifth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France, a semifinalist in Auckland last year, defeated Abigail Spears of the US 6-1, 6-0.

France's Tatiana Golovin needed only 52 minutes Monday to beat Yan Zi of China 6-1, 6-4 in a first-round match at the Uncle Tobys Australian women's hardcourt championships at Royal Pines.

The 16-year-old Golovin, wearing a bright orange dress, used a strong serve to easily beat Yan and set up a likely second-round meeting with defending champion Ai Sugiyama of Japan, who plays Tuesday.

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