Slovakia advanced to a fourth Hopman Cup final in dramatic circumstances yesterday when Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer collapsed on court with an ankle injury and was taken off in a wheelchair.
Both teams were unbeaten going into the tie, but the much-anticipated clash came to a premature end when Kiefer crashed down with a twisted ankle in the fifth game of his singles clash with Dominik Hrbaty.
Slovakia won the tie 3-0 after being awarded the mixed doubles on a walkover. Dominika Cibulkova had earlier beaten fellow teen Sabine Lisicki, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.
Kiefer was 3-1 up in the first set when Hrbaty hit a service return long and had simply turned to watch the ball fly past when his ankle gave way.
He remained on court for some time before being helped into a wheelchair. It was unclear whether the world No. 37 would be fit for the Australian Open.
Slovakia, the seventh seeds who won the event in 1998 and 2005, finished top of Group A after earlier wins against the US and Australia.
In the other Group A clash on Thursday, top seeds the US gained consolation for a disappointing week with a 2-1 victory over hosts Australia, who finished winless.
In a Group B match yesterday evening Taiwan crashed to a 0-3 defeat against Italy
Flavia Pennetta defeated Hsieh Su-wei 7-5, 6-3 while Lu Yen-hsun was unable to play his match against Simone Bolelli because of injury.
The Italians also took the doubles on a walkover.
AP, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
Former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo upset top-seeded Ana Ivanovic in the Brisbane International quarter-finals Thursday, her first victory over a top 10 player in two years.
Mauresmo, the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion in 2006, dropped serve only once while breaking Ivanovic five times to advance 6-3, 6-2 to the semi-finals.
Ivanovic, the 21-year-old Serb who spent 12 weeks at No. 1 last season while making the Australian Open final and winning the French, frequently followed stinging forehands with unforced errors.
Fifth-seeded Mauresmo next faces third-seeded and fellow Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, who beat Italy’s Tathiana Garbin 6-3, 6-3.
In the other women’s quarter-finals, second-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus lost three of her first four service games before recovering for a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Lucie Safarova.
The 19-year-old Azarenka will play a semifinal against Italian Sara Errani, who beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus, 6-3, 6-3.
In the men’s draw, Spaniard Fernando Verdasco rallied for a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over Florent Serra of France.
Third-seeded Verdasc dropped serve in the ninth game to surrender the opening set. But he took the second set in just 26 minutes and, after saving break point at 30-40 in the fifth game of the third with a pinpoint topspin lob, he finished off quickly.
AP, CHENNAI, INDIA
Unheralded Somdev Devvarman of India upset two-time winner Carlos Moya of Spain in the second round of the Chennai Open yesterday.
The 23-year-old Devvarman, ranked 202, won 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to pull off the biggest win of his career, stunning the No. 42-ranked Moya, who was the sixth seed in the tournament he had won in 2004 and 2005.
Making the first quarter-final of his career, Devvarman will now meet fourth-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia.
Others advancing to the quarter-finals were seventh-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic and eighth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain.