Spain clinched a 2-1 victory over South Africa in the Hopman Cup team tennis tournament on Saturday after winning the mixed doubles 6-4, 6-7 (3), 10-8.
Kevin Anderson had given South Africa the lead by beating Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (5), 6-4, before Annabel Medina Garrigues leveled the contest with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Chanelle Scheepers. The Spanish duo then outlasted the South Africans in the Champions tiebreaker of the doubles match.
Anderson held two set points at 5-4 in his the first set of his singles match but made errors on both before winning the tiebreaker. The South African then broke at 4-4 in the second before serving out the match.
Despite the loss, Verdasco said “I think I played a good match,” Verdasco said. “I’ve been nearly two months without playing, so even if it was tough, it’s good.
“Here is a perfect tournament to get ready for the (Australian) Open, playing three matches against some of the best players in the world.”
Medina Garrigues also had to fight hard for her victory, against an opponent who had won their only previous meeting.
Scheepers broke first to lead 3-2 before the Spaniard leveled at 4-4. Medina Garrigues then saved two break points in the next game before breaking again for the set.
Scheepers maintained the pressure in the second as Medina Garrigues faced eight break points. However, the Spaniard broke for 3-1, fought off five break points to hold for 5-2 and broke serve again when she converted her second match point.
“I was a little bit lucky,” Medina Garrigues said. “The doubles was also tough, one and a half hours, but Fernando was playing good and now we have to recover (to face France) tomorrow.”
In a night match Saturday, Australia’s pairing of Bernard Tomic and Ashleigh Barty take on Tommy Haas and Andrea Petkovic of Germany.