Following a tight encounter, Greece claimed a 2-1 win over the USA in what was the Americans first appearance at this year’s Hopman Cup being played in Perth, Australia.
At the end it paid off. Using the right tactics, using the right patterns on the court. I was a bit more patient, did things a bit better and in the end deserved victory. Stafanos Tsitsipas
The Greeks, playing their second tie of Group B having lost to the British team on the first day of the competition, started well with Stefanos Tsitsipas, the world No.15, claiming the opening rubber over Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7(3) 6-3.
Having gained the advantage for his team, it was left to Maria Sakkari to try and clinch the win in the second rubber by overcoming the formidable figure of Serena Williams playing in her first match since that meltdown at the US Open final.
And the 23-year-old, ranked 41, did well to give the former world number one a run for her money in the opening set, but once Williams had secured that, she proved too powerful for the Greek, coming through 7-6(3) 6-2.
Having levelled the tie, the two pairs returned to the court to play the deciding mixed doubles which kept the full house enthralled as the score swung back and forth before Tiafoe was broken in the final game to hand a 4-1 1-4 4-2 win to their opponents, who in their earlier tie, had lost the deciding rubber to Britain.
Speaking after their respective singles wins, Tsitsipas praised Tiafoe’s fighting spirit. “He didn’t want to lose, he’s a big fighter and had some great results during the year,” the Greek No.1 said. “I had to fight even harder — one of us had to fight a bit more.
“At the end it paid off. Using the right tactics, using the right patterns on the court. I was a bit more patient, did things a bit better and in the end deserved victory.”
Williams – who required medical attention in between sets to have strapping on her ankle tightened — was equally complimentary of her opponent following her win. “It’s great to be back out here, I love playing Down Under here in Perth and in Australia, some of my best memories are here” she said during her on court interview. “It was my first match back and she played unbelievable. Maria is obviously super young and such a good player.
“I was making a lot of mistakes but it’s my first match back, so it will only get better,” adding: “There’s no other way to start the New Year than at the Hopman Cup.”