Australia wins Hopman Cup for 1st time in 17 years
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 09, 2016 07:42 PM
Nick Kyrgios, right, and Daria Gavrilova of Australia hold the winners' trophy after defeating the Ukraine in the final of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Theron Kirkman)PERTH, Australia (AP) — Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova had singles wins over Ukraine to lead the Australia Green team to the Hopman Cup, the country's first title in the mixed teams event in 17 years.
Gavrilova's 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory over Elina Svitolina gave Australia a 1-0 lead before Kyrgios clinched the title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov ahead of the mixed doubles.
Australia's only previous Hopman Cup title came in 1999, when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic beat the Swedish pair of Jonas Bjorkman and Asa Carlsson in the final.
The last time Australia reached the final was in 2003, when Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik were defeated 3-0 by Serena Williams and James Blake of the United States.
Kyrgios won all four of his singles matches and combined with Gavrilova for an unbeaten mixed doubles run.
Against France on Friday night, Australia Green was down a set point in the mixed doubles. If they had lost, Britain's Andy Murray and Heather Watson would have qualified for the final.
But Gavrilova made a clutch cross-court volley before Kyrgios helped seal the 2-1 win.
Gavrilova trailed 6-1 in the second-set tiebreaker Saturday before reeling off seven straight points to secure victory.
"I played a tournament in under-12s, and it was a super tiebreaker, and I was down 9-1 and I ended up winning," Gavrilova said.
"I just literally told myself to settle down, just stop thinking of everything. Just think about how to win every point. I just played free."
Kyrgios took the first set in 26 minutes before securing an early break in the second set to cruise to victory.
"It's an event that's been held for a long, long time — before I was even born," the 20-year-old Kyrgios said ahead of the final. "It's pretty special. Especially me and Dasha (Daria) — we grew up together in juniors."