|Posted on January 7, 2012 at 7:30 PM|
Tomas Berdych and Petra Kvitova hold the Hopman Cup after winning the tennis tournament in Perth, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. The Czech pair had straight-set singles victories over France.
Czech Republic win Hopman Cup
By Justin Chadwick, AAP | 7 January 2012
The Czech Republic lived up to their Hopman Cup top seeding, powering to their second title with a 2-0 victory over Spain in Perth on Saturday night.
World No.2 Petra Kvitova defeated France's Marion Bartoli 7-5 6-1 before Tomas Berdych wrapped up the tie with a 7-6 (7-0) 6-4 triumph over good friend Richard Gasquet.
France, in their 18th Hopman Cup appearance, are yet to win the mixed-teams event, while the Czech Republic now have two titles to their name after Jana Novotna and Petr Korda won it in 1994.
Czechoslovakia also won it in 1989.
In a high-class men's clash, world No.19 Gasquet saved two set points in the opening set but was blown away in the tiebreak as world No.7 Berdych unleashed some blistering ground strokes.
The pair practised together before the tournament began, but Gasquet struggled to find answers to Berdych's power game and the contest looked over when Berdych served for the match at 5-2 up.
But Gasquet put up one last fight, breaking back before saving three match points on his own serve with a backhand winner, a forehand winner and an ace.
At 5-4 the contest was back in the balance, but Berdych still held one break of serve and finished the contest with an ace.
Kvitova, who entered her match full of confidence following her three-set win over world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki the day before, had to dig deep in the first set against Bartoli before securing the win in 89 minutes.
Bartoli looked good early, and had the chance to serve out the first set after snaring the crucial break in the seventh game.
But Kvitova, employing a beautiful mix of powerful ground strokes and deft drop shots, broke Bartoli twice in quick succession to take out the first set in 59 minutes.
From there it was all one way traffic, with even the tennis gods shining favourably on Kvitova.
With Bartoli down break point in the opening game of the second set, Kvitova sent a powerful forehand into the top of the net, with the ball dribbling over for a winner.
"I'm happy that I won," Kvitova said.
"She's improved a lot in the off season.
"I was more aggressive on the return and my serve was tougher."
"It was a really good match (when I beat Wozniacki) but today I played much better against Marion," Kvitova added.
"It's really good to win at the beginning of the season."
Despite France's loss, Bartoli described the tournament as perfect preparation for the Australian Open.
Berdych, who won all four of his singles matches, felt he was in good shape heading into the year's first grand slam.
"It couldn't be better. It was a great week," Berdych said.
"I think that was the best final that could come up."
With the result already decided, the mixed doubles encounter will not be played.
Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych hold the diamond-encrusted silver tennis ball trophies after winning the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth, Australia, Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych have the won the Hyundai Hopman Cup title for Czech Republic after recording a 2-0 triumph over France in Saturday’s final at the Burswood Dome in Perth.