Hopman Cup: Serena Willimas beats Sakkari but Greece tops the USA


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Hopman Cup: Serena Willimas beats Sakkari but Greece tops the USA

In the only match of the Monday's program in Perth, Greece defeated the USA 2-1 to score their first win at this year's Hopman Cup, bouncing back after a loss against Great Britain to stay in contention for the place in the final.

In the first match of the day, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in the battle of the best players born in 1998 to deliver the opening point for Greece. The match lasted two hours and 15 minutes and it was Tsitsipas who played better on his second serve, saving three out of four break points and keeping the pressure on Frances all the time after creating 12 break chances.

The American did a fine job in saving nine of those but that wasn't enough for more than a set, getting broken once in sets one and three to open the campaign with a defeat. The first set offered eight good holds and one loose service game from Tiafoe that cost him the set, suffering a break in game six after a poor forehand and allowing Tsitsipas to secure the set with an ace in game nine.

The Greek broke again in the third game of the second set thanks to a running forehand winner but the American found the way to break back at 2-3, staying in touch with his rival to set up an interesting ending of the set.

Serving at 5-5, Tiafoe saved break points to stay in contention and he claimed the tie break with a backhand down the line winner in the 10th point to send the match into a decider. There, Stefanos won 13 of the first 15 points, scoring a break in game two when Tiafoe sprayed a backhand error and moving 3-0 up with a service winner in the next game.

The American saved another break point in the fourth game with a well-constructed attack and another one at 1-4 with a backhand winner, staying within one break deficit before earning three break points in game seven that could have kept him in the match.

Tsitsipas repelled them all with winners and the match was in his hands after a great backhand cross court winner at 5-3 that pushed Greece in front before the women's singles match. There, Serena Williams took down Maria Sakkari 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 44 minutes after trailing 5-3 in the opening set, leveling the overall score to 1-1 before the deciding mixed doubles match. Serena fired 13 aces and she kept things under control in her games after that break she suffered, saving four out of five break points to keep the pressure on Maria who couldn't deal with it once she lost her lead.

The Greek had to play against 10 break points and she got broken three times to end the match on the losing side. Williams saved a break point in the opening game but she hit a forehand long in game three to give Sakkari the break and the lead.

Serena saved another break point in game five and that proved to be a turning point, breaking back in the very last moment in game 10 when Sakkari served for the set. Serena saved a break point in the following game with a service winner and she won the tie break 7-3 after more than an hour of a great fight.

From 2-1 down in set number two, Serena won five games in a row to bring the match home in style, earning a break at 2-2 and another one in game seven with a forehand winner before closing the match with a good serve in the following game.

In the mixed doubles match, Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Serena Williams and Frances Tiafoe 4-1, 1-4, 4-2 in 53 minutes to score their first win at this year's Hopman Cup. The Greeks broke both Serena and Frances in the opening set but the Americans broke Sakkari in the fourth game of the second set to move 3-1 up, closing the set with a good hold from Tiafoe to set up the decider.

There, both teams served well until the sixth game when Tiafoe lost his serve after a backhand winner from Sakkari who clinched the tie for Greece, starting a huge celebration with Stefanos and their team. Greece vs USA 2-1

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3 6-7(3) 6-3
Serena Williams (USA) vs Maria Sakkari (GRE) 7-6(3) 6-2
Maria Sakkari / Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs Serena Williams / Frances Tiafoe (USA) 1-4 4-1 4-2