Spain has won its second straight Tie at Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV two rubbers to one after Anabel Medina Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco were victorious against China’s Li Na and Wu Di at Session 5 on Tuesday.
China made a winning start to the Session when Li Na beat Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-1, but former world No. 7 Verdasco levelled things at a rubber apiece beating Wu Di 6-3, 6-4 and then the Spanish duo proved too good in the mixed doubles, winning 6-0, 6-2.
That puts the No. 3 seeded Spanish team in a strong position to make a run for the Final after also beating Australia 2-1 on Sunday. They next take on the No. 2 seeds France, made up of Marion Bartoli and Richard Gasquet, in a Tie that could very well decide the Finalist from Group B.
China is making its first appearance in the main draw of the Hyundai Hopman Cup and while they have now lost both Ties narrowly to France and Spain, have put in strong performances with Li winning both her singles clashes and 20-year-old Wu showing good signs against two former top 10 players.
Medina Garrigues is in her second appearance at the Hopman Cup after previously making the Final with Tommy Robredo in 2007, and while she has lost her opening two singles clashes this year, her doubles prowess has come to the fore as she tries to have another crack at winning here in Perth.
“I couldnâ€™t give it to Fernando in my singles match but I think we were a very good team together in the mixed doubles so Iâ€™m very happy that we could win the Tie and we will see in the next round with the French,” Medina Garrigues said.
“We know now with the French, it depends how they go today against Australia, itâ€™s going to be very tough and I think we have to wait until the end.”
Verdasco has made an unblemished start to his Hyundai Hopman Cup career with singles wins over Lleyton Hewitt and Wu DI, with two mixed doubles victories as well.
He has already served 16 aces this week too, with the proceeds of that going to charity thanks to Hyundai, but first and foremost he is enjoying playing inside the Burswood Dome so far.
“We are playing every day better and today we played much better than against Australia, against France hopefully we play even better. I think after each match you know each other more and more of what is good to do and not and we are just enjoying playing here a lot,” Verdasco said.
“Anabel tells me every time I make an ace that Hyundai is not going to be happy with all the aces you are making but Iâ€™m just trying my best and Iâ€™m sorry for Hyundai who needs to pay all that. Iâ€™m happy that we won the second Tie and now with France itâ€™s going to be very tough but tomorrow we have another day off to practice and get ready for that.”
The other two teams of Group B, France’s Marion Bartoli and Richard Gasquet and Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova and Lleyton Hewitt, will now face off this evening in Session 6 of Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV inside Perth’s Burswood Dome.
By Rosita Stangl