France books place in Hopman Cup final
Originally published on: 05/01/12 09:04
The ninth session at the Hopman Cup is a real bumper one. Unlike the preceeding days, which are split into day and night sessions, today, one session decides which of the four nations from Group B make it through to the final.
Australia was in action against China but since both nations had lost both of their previous 2012 Hopman Cup ties, their rubber was a matter of honour for third place in the group. The spectators didn’t seem to mind much and there was plenty of Aussie support for Lleyton Hewitt and Jarmila Gajdosova against Li Na and Wu Di of China. Hopman Cup is both played and supported with such great spirit.
In the first match of the day between France and Spain, where the result did matter, Marion Bartoli’s 6-2 6-4 victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues put second-seeded France into the lead.
The Frenchwoman looked very focused as she took the first set in 37 minutes, although neither woman served particularly well with six of the eight games being won against serve. The second set saw Bartoli get into her stride, breaking Medina Garrigues in the fourth game and although she was broken back immediately after, having served first in the set, she had done enough to win the match, with both players holding serve after that.
Bartoli played some solid tennis, thumping the ball off both of her double-handed wings and finishing the match in an hour and a half, with a drop shot which bought her opponent to the net, only for the Spaniard to hit the ball wide out of the left hand side of the court.
Richard Gasquet then sealed the tie for France with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Fernando Verdasco. Gasquet’s performance was impressive; he broke Verdasco in the third game of the first set and consolidated the break to take the first set in 36 minutes. The second set contained some competitive rallies and although the Frenchman needed five match points when he finally came to the net forcing the error from Verdasco he looked pleased with his performance. The match lasted an hour and 21 minutes.
France will play the winner of Group A, which will be decided on Friday. Based on performances so far, the No.1 seeded Czech Republic is looking like the favourite to win the Group. However if Denmark were to beat the Czechs on Friday then Bulgaria or Denmark could stiil qualify.