Tennis

Mattek-Sands stuns Schiavone

American Bethanie Mattek-Sands stunned world No.7 Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-4 in the United States’ 2-1 win over Italy at the Hopman Cup on Wednesday.

John Isner gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead after coming through a close encounter against Potito Starace 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4. But Italy denied the U.S. a second clean sweep at the Hopman Cup, as Schiavone and Starace pulled off a surprising 6-7(5), 6-2, 10-3 victory in the mixed doubles.

Mattek-Sands wasted little time in applying pressure to the French Open champion Schiavone, breaking to go 3-2 ahead in the opening set and maintaining her lead the rest of the way. Mattek-Sands wasted no time in applying pressure to French Open champion Schiavone, breaking to go 3-2 ahead in the opening set and maintaining her lead the rest of the way.

Schiavone looked under par on another humid day in Perth, falling a break behind at the start of the second set. She broke back, but it was merely delaying the inevitable as Mattek-Sands broke again to complete the victory.

“That was my goal going into this match - to get into the net before she did,” Mattek-Sands said. “She’s an aggressive player and I was just trying to take her high balls early and not get myself behind the baseline too far.

“I worked pretty hard in the off season for my fitness. I had to hang in with Francesca. She’s a great player. That last game, I mean I was running from side to side. It was a great match.”

Starace was the first to break in the men’s match, beating the lanky Isner’s serve for the first time in the competition at 3-3 in the opening set. But the American broke straight back, and the set went into a tiebreaker.

Starace refused to be put down, staying strong on serve and breaking Isner at the crucial juncture to win the second set. As both men were drained by heat, Starace looked like causing an upset when he broke Isner’s serve again to lead 3-1. But the American broke back, and broke again to take the set and the match with his 23rd ace.

“I needed some air conditioning out here today,” Isner said. “When I got broken in the 3rd that freed me up a bit, I started going for my shots a little more, that helped me out. I lost my serve three times, it doesn’t happen that often, but I’d rather win the match like this than lose one where I didn’t lose my serve.”

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:28:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/Mattek-Sands-stuns-Schiavone/article15507242.ece

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