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Hopman Cup, Perth - Czech Republic vs Bulgaria

Posted on January 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM









Monday, January 2, 2012 - Match Start 9:30 am



Czech Republic v Bulgaria



Match One – Women’s Single

Petra Kvitova vs Tsvetana Pironkova



Match Two – Men’s Single

Tomas Berdych vs Grigor Dimitrov



Match Three – Mixed Doubles

Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych vs Tsvetana Pironkova and Grigor Dimitrov






 

 

Session 3   Preview   -   Czech Republic v Bulgaria


By Chris Pike



Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV top-seeds the Czech Republic begin their campaign on Monday morning against a talented and young Bulgarian team inside the Burswood Dome.


The Czech team is made up of world No. 2 Petra Kvitova and No. 7 Tomas Berdych, so deservedly earned the top-seeding for the 24th edition of the Hopman Cup, but the Bulgarian team of Tsvetana Pironkova and Grigor Dimitrov is sure to put up quite a fight.


The Bulgarian pair might be ranked lower than their Czech opponents, but certainly have the ability to match it with the top players in the world.


The Czechs and Bulgarians are joined in Group A by the USA's Bethanie's Mattek-Sands and Mardy Fish, and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki and Frederik Nielsen who will also do battle in Session 4 on Monday evening.


Kvitova and Pironkova have played three times previously with the Czech 21-year-old winning all three. The first was in 2008 in Paris, the second the same year in Zurich and then they met at last year's Wimbledon.


Kvitova won the quarter-final 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 and then went on to claim the Wimbledon championship for the first Grand Slam triumph of her career.


The world No. 2 then went on and won six titles in total for 2011, including the season-ending WTA Tour championships, and was named the ITF World Champion and WTA Player of the Year.


However, just by being in the quarter finals at Wimbledon showed the ability that the world No. 46 Pironkova possesses. On the way to that quarter-final appearance, the 24-year-old beat five-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams for the second consecutive year at the Championships.


Pironkova has also beaten Vera Zvonareva (twice), Elena Dementieva, Li Na, Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka, Marion Bartoli and Agnieszka Radwanska, so she has already proven her ability against the big guns and there would be no bigger scalp in the game right now than Kvitova.


Dimitrov as well has every reason to take confidence into his clash with Berdych as well. The pair have only played one another once and it Dimitrov who was victorious 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2009 at Rotterdam.


The Czechs deservedly come into this Tie and indeed the tournament as favourites considering the standing of Kvitova and Berdych in the game right now, but Pironkova and Dimitrov have claimed big scalps before, are capable of giant leaps forward in their careers and starting 2012 with a win over the Czech Republic pair would be the perfect way to do just that.





 
 
 
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Petra Kvitova in action against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria during  their women's singles match on day three of the Hopman Cup Tennis Tournament in Perth on January 2, 2012







Session 3 Womens Wrap - Kvitova gives Czechs winning start


Kvitova won the match 6-4, 6-2



World No. 2 Petra Kvitova has began her Hyundai Hopman Cup campaign with a strong 6-4, 6-2 victory this morning over Bulgarias Tsvetana Pironkova to give the top-seeded Czech Republic a winning start to its tournament.


Kvitova and Tomas Berdych come into the 24th edition of the Hyundai Hopman Cup as the top-seeds and now have made the perfect start thanks to Kvitova's straight-sets victory over the world No. 46 Pironkova.


The Tie will now move to the mens singles encounter between world No. 7 Berdych and Bulgarias Grigor Dimitrov.


While Berdych is the higher-ranked and more experienced player, Dimitrov is an exciting talent and has one the only previous meeting with the big-hitting Czech, so he will give himself a chance of keeping Bulgaria alive in the nation's first Tie in its Hopman Cup debut.


Kvitova arrived in Perth coming off an amazing 2011 that saw her win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, win five other tournaments as well, and then helped the Czech Republic to the Fed Cup title and also was named the ITF World Champion and WTA Tour Player of the Year.


She is the world No. 2 and keeping the pressure on the top-ranked Wozniacki as well, and started her 2012 in strong fashion.


She first broke Pironkova's serve in the sixth game of the opening set and the claimed it 6-4. The 21-year-old then dominated the second set winning the last five games in-a-row to take it out 6-2.


After the match, Kvitova was pleased to get the first win on the board to start the new year and now she is looking forward to seeing Berdych do battle with Dimitrov in the men's singles.


“Of course the first match was tough and I got it. I won and really it’s one-zero so hopefully Tomas can win also," Kvitova said.


“Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to visit Perth but I played well and it was really fun for me.”


“The last season was longer than normal and I had some rest and hopefully I am ready for the play matches and we will see how it is going. I’m not fighting against Caroline who is in first spot.”

 







 
 
 

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Tomas Berdych in action against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria during their men's singles match on day three of the Hopman Cup Tennis Tournament in Perth on January 2, 2012. 
 
 
 


 


Session 3 Mens Wrap - Berdych secures Tie for Czechs


Berdych won the match 6-4, 6-7 (9-11), 6-3



World No. 7 Tomas Berdych had to work hard in three sets to beat Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov to secure Session 3 of Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV for the Czech Republic, but he prevailed 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 to back up Petra Kvitova's straight-sets win over Tsvetana Pironkova earlier.


The Czech Republic is tournament's No. 1 seeds and have now made the perfect start in their quest to win the Hopman Cup for the second time, and first since 1994 when Jana Novotna and Petr Korda were triumphant.


Following Kvitova's impressive 6-4, 6-2 win over Pironkova to begin the Session in the morning inside Perth's Burswood Dome, Berdych had to work hard against an opponent in Dimitrov who had lost in their only previous meeting.


The big-hitting Czech broke Dimitrov's serve just the once in the opening set on the way to taking it out 6-4, but it was the Bulgarian who had his chances in the second. The 20-year-old opened up a 5-3 lead, but Berdych was able to bounce back and send it into a tie-break.


Dimitrov raced to a 4-1 advantage in that tie-break, but Berdych won the next three points to level things again. However, the Bulgarian youngster held his nerve well and was able to clinch the tie-breaker 11 points to nine.


In the deciding third set, the experienced Berdych proved too strong winning 6-3 to sew up the Tie for the Czech Republic following Kvitova's singles win also.


Having lost to Dimitrov previously and knowing the prodigious talent he is, Berdych was pleased to open his third Hopman Cup visit with a strong singles victory even if it did come after a short break following the ATP Tour finals late in 2011.


"He (Dimitrov) is playing really well, he’s going to be improving and he’s improving in the last couple of months but he’s going to be really dangerous this year and as he just showed right now he can play really well. I’m pretty happy to start the year with a win," Berdych said.


"It’s always much better and gives you more confidence to have the first win of the year and even to play really solid game like it was today so I’m happy for that. The season starts, or ends in London with some incredible matches, then there are some weeks off. The game was really on the level for the first game of the year."


The Czech No. 1 seeds will now hit the court to take on the Bulgarian pair to finish off the Session in the mixed doubles before this evening, the world No. 1 from Denmark Caroline Wozniacki makes her Hyundai Hopman Cup debut alongside Frederik Nielsen up against the USA's Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mardy Fish.


Berdych is now looking forward to hitting the court alongside the world No. 2 Kvitova for the first time in the mixed doubles.


"It’s going to be a great experience. I’m really enjoying the new role in the team that I’m not the leader which I was for many, many years even in the Davis Cup and even here," Berdych said.


"Now it’s a little bit more on Petra she is the leader now but it’s going to be fine, we’re going to try to enjoy it. When anyone asks me what’s the best tactic for mixed doubles I said win two singles so we did it and we just go to enjoy it."

 












 
 
 
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Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych in action against Bulgaria during their mixed doubles match

 
 
 

 














Session 3 Wrap - Czech No. 1 seeds down Bulgaria 2-1



Hyundai Hopman Cup top-seeds from the Czech Republic Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych won their opening two singles matches today to clinch the Tie 2-1 for their country inside Perth's Burswood Dome against Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova and Grigor Dimitrov.


The top-seeded pairing of world No. 2 Kvitova and the seventh-ranked Berdych prevailed against a young, dangerous and exciting Bulgarian team, but didn’t have it all their own way.


Kvitova was able to beat Pironkova 6-4, 6-2 to begin the Session and then in the end, Berdych prevailed over Dimitrov in three sets, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 to hand the Czech Republic a tremendous start to their Hopman Cup campaigns.


Then in the mixed doubles, the Czech duo won the first set 6-2, the Bulgarians the second 6-3 and in the deciding Match Tie-break, Pironkova and Dimitrov prevailed 11 points to nine.


Kvitova and Berdych come into the 24th edition of the Hyundai Hopman Cup as the top-seeds and made the perfect start thanks to Kvitova's straight-sets victory over the world No. 46 Pironkova.


Kvitova arrived in Perth coming off an amazing 2011 that saw her win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, win five other tournaments, and then help the Czech Republic to the Fed Cup title and also was named the ITF World Champion and WTA Tour Player of the Year.


She is the world No. 2 and keeping the pressure on the top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki as well, and started her 2012 in strong fashion.


After the match, Kvitova was pleased to get her first win on the board to start the New Year.


"Of course the first match was tough and I got it. I won and unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to visit Perth but I played well and it was really fun for me," Kvitova said.


"The last season was longer than normal and I had some rest and hopefully I am ready for the playing of matches and we will see how it is going. I’m not fighting against Caroline who is in first spot."


In the men's singles, Berdych broke Dimitrov's serve just the once in the opening set on the way to taking it out 6-4, but it was the Bulgarian who had his chances in the second. The 20-year-old opened up a 5-3 lead, but the big-hitting Czech was able to bounce back and send it into a tie-break.


Dimitrov raced to a 4-1 advantage in that tie-break, but Berdych then won the next three points to level things again. However, the Bulgarian youngster held his nerve well and was able to clinch the tie-breaker 11 points to nine.


In the deciding third set, the experienced Berdych proved too strong winning 6-3 to sew up the Tie for the Czech Republic following Kvitova's singles win.


Having lost to Dimitrov previously and knowing the prodigious talent he is, Berdych was pleased to open his third Hopman Cup visit with a strong singles victory even if it did come after a short break following the ATP Tour finals late in 2011.


"He (Dimitrov) is playing really well, he’s going to be improving and he’s improving in the last couple of months but he’s going to be really dangerous this year and as he just showed right now he can play really well. I’m pretty happy to start the year with a win," Berdych said.


"It’s always much better and gives you more confidence to have the first win of the year and even to play really solid game like it was today so I’m happy for that. The season starts, or ends in London with some incredible matches, then there are some weeks off. The game was really on the level for the first game of the year."


Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV action will continue this evening when a pair of former winners from the USA, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mardy Fish, take on Denmark's world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and Frederik Nielsen on their debut in Perth.





 








Kvitova, Berdych lead Czechs to 2-1 Hopman Cup win


PERTH, Australia (AP) — Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and teammate Tomas Berdych won their singles matches Monday to give Czech Republic a 2-1 win over Bulgaria at the Hopman Cup.


Kvitova won the last five games of her match to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-2 before seventh-ranked Berdych defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3.


Pironkova and Dimitrov won the mixed doubles, saving three match points to defeat the Czech pair 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 (match tiebreak) in a result which could help determine Group A placings and decide which teams advance to Saturday's final.


On Monday night, U.S. pair Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mardy Fish take on a Denmark team comprising women's No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and Frederik Nielsen.


No. 2-ranked Kvitova won five other tournaments in 2011 to add to her Wimbledon championship, then helped Czech Republic to the Fed Cup title. She was also named the WTA Tour player of the year.


"Of course the first match was tough and I won it," she said of Monday's singles win. "The last season was longer than normal and I had some rest. Hopefully I am ready to play matches — we will see how it goes."


Berdych reached the Wimbledon final in 2010, but his best performance in Grand Slams in 2011 was a quarterfinal berth at the Australian Open. He was beaten in the first round at the French Open, the round of 16 at Wimbledon and third round at the U.S. Open.


"The expectations are pretty much similar to last year," Berdych said. "I want to end up again in the World Tour finals in London, which means that I (need to) end up the year in the top eight. And then bring some even better results from the Grand Slams and move my game higher."






 


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