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Spain defeat Australia at Hopman Cup

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Originally published on: 01/01/12 14:54

The format of Hopman Cup is that the women play their singles match first, so this tie saw Jarmila Gajdosova pitted against Anabel Medina Garriguez. The women have played three times before and the Aussie had won on each occasion. It proved to be no different today, although it was a tight match which started around 3pm local time, with Gajdosova grabbing victory 63 36 63 in 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Gajdosova admitted that she had been a little nervous when the match started. She’s playing alongside Lleyton Hewitt for the first time so was keen not to let the side down, but she need not have worried as when her game is on song it’s powerful and productive and once she started hitting the ball she seemed to get the measure of her opponent.

Her teammate Lleyton Hewitt then took to court for a two hour and 15 competitive match against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. The 28 year-old Spaniard won 63 36 75, and after a 30 minute break in play, all four players returned to decide the tie with the mixed doubles rubber, played at 8.45pm in front of a packed crowd.

The 7393 spectators who packed into the Burswood Dome today would have been delighted with how 2012 had started for them and Paul McNamee should have been a very satisfied tournament director. Hopman Cup has attracted many of the world’s top players with 24 World No.1 players having participated in the event in its 24-year history. In this tradition, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki plays on Monday.

There are plenty of stories around in Perth today about the future of the Hopman Cup. In 2013, the event, currently played indoors, is set to move to a newly constructed stadium within the city limits. The government of Western Australia is building the Perth Arena. It will have a retractable roof and a court surface that will replicate the conditions of the Australian Open. The move is not disputed, but the operational side of which organization will run the event in future is the focus of much discussion. The ITF which sanctions the event is currently going through a process to determine if the operational side will remain as is, or if Tennis Australia will assume control and run Hopman Cup alongside the Brisbane International which takes place under it’s remit simultaneously on the Eastern side of this vast country.

But it was not about the politics for tennis fans today, rather about 7 and a half hours of scintillating tennis, which saw two tennis nations pitted against one another. At 10.30pm local time, the Spaniards were victorious 36 63 11-9. Fernando Verdasco revealed that he had, for the first time in his career, won a mixed doubles match. After morning practise, he will be off to the beach Monday to celebrate.

A mixed doubles rubber decided the tie, and this not only gives us all an Olympic taster, with a mixed doubles event featuring for the first time since 1924, but also an insight into why Hopman Cup has such a rich history. It is a unique event in a landscape of arguably uniform, structured tennis events. In our opinion, Hopman Cup has the ability to contribute much to the modern game of tennis and those discussing its future will do well to be mindful of its unique history and character as witnessed here today.

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