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    Mar 2009
    Lonley Planet


    Default Australia Defeats US To Stay In Hopman Finals Chase

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    Australia knocked out US to remain in race for Hopman Cup finals. The Australian double Grand Slam champions Samantha Stosur and Lleyton Hewitt combined in lethal fashion on Tuesday to keep their hopes alive in the championship.

    The Australians - Stosur owns a pair of doubles titles at the majors while Hewitt won Wimbledon and the US Open singles - now need to sweep the Group A tie in the concluding mixed doubles rubber to be assured of carrying on unobstructed.

    Australia have claimed the Hopman trophy only once in 1999 .The eight-nation event serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open starting in less than a fortnight.

    The 13th ranked Stosur and a doubles powerhouse on the WTA, crushed Melanie Oudin in staright sets by 6-2, 6-4. Hewitt carried on as he blew past the serve of 2.06-metre John Isner by 6-1, 7-5.

    The defeat eliminates the Americans from the campaign, who dropped their opening tie at the Burswood Dome 3-0 to Spain. Australia had suffered defeat on opening day by Romania.

    Hewitt withstood 13 aces from Isner and showed the big man who was boss by rolling to a 5-0 lead in a quarter of an hour on the way to victory.

    "I didn't do a whole lot wrong today," admitted the former number one. "It's as well as I've served in a long time. I'm pretty happy.

    "I had beaten him in the Shanghai first round at my last event of the season. I won in straight sets and felt comfortable with his game." The Australian broke twice and grabbed the early lead without hesitation before Isner stiffened to make a match of it.

    "I played extremely well," Hewitt said. "I returned well and made him play a lot of balls. I was on his serve right from the start. "I got the early jump on him which was huge."

    Stosur increased the Perth heartbreak for teenaged Oudin, who has flopped since her US Open quarter-final which thrilled a nation.

    The 18-year-old has won only a single match since her breakthrough.

    Stosur said, "I played well today, I'm very happy. Today I finished it off (after losing a lead in her opening contest). I played pretty well first point to last.

    "I'm feeling really good about my game. I tried to mix up the serve going for her body and keep in her guessing," she said.

    In the evening tie, Spain will play against Romania.



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