Fourth seeds France capitalised on the doubles skill of Arnaud Clement to win the mixed and claim victory over Argentina.
France won 6-3, 6-2 after Tatiana Golovin had downed Gisela Dulko and Juan Ignacio Chela levelled the match with victory over Clement.
The deciding doubles saw Clement at his classic best, covering enormous territory and smashing consistent winners.
The women’s singles resulted in Golovin beating Dulko 6-4, 6-3 in a match that lasted 78 minutes. It was a contest of service break opportunities, with Golovin making the most of the situation to convert four of her six chances, compared to Dulko, who had 10 break points, but only produced winning shots twice.
Each set saw two early breaks of service by each player and it was left to the end of each set for Golovin to gain the winning break.
“It’s the first match and really hard to get a rhythm,” said Golovin after her victory. “But we have two days to recover now so hopefully we’ll be ready for Jelena (Jankovic) and Novak (Djokovic) and then we’ll have another great match.”
The men’s singles was of a similar time-frame, with Chela needing 74 minutes to down Clement 6-3, 6-1, with the Frenchman coming in as a late replacement for the injured Gael Monofils.
Clement, who is better known as a doubles player, sharing the 2007 Wimbledon title with compatriot Michael Llodra, had difficulty breaking Chela’s service, gaining five break points, but was unable to clinch any. Conversely, Chela converted four of six break opportunities.
Unforced errors also hurt Clement, with a total of 35, compared to just 16.
“I’m really happy, I played a big match and I’m very happy with my first time here,” said Chela.
His partner will now have two days rest to overcome a leg ailment that slowed her movement. But she is confident of being in better shape for their Wednesday clash with Chinese Taipei.
Session 3 - Serbia 3 d Chinese Taipei 0
* Jelena Jankovic d Su-Wei Hsieh 6-4, 6-4
* Novak Djokovic d Yen-Hsun Lu 7-5, 2-6, 6-3
* Jankovic/Djokovic d Hsieh/Lu 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(10/8)
Despite Jelena Jankovic battling through two tight sets and Novak Djokovic three and a back injury, Serbia has made a winning start to its Hyundai Hopman Cup campaign against Chinese Taipei. Jankovic got the better of Su-Wei 6-4, 6-4 in two tight sets, while Djokovic struggled after hurting his back. The world No. 3 eventually got over the top of Lu in three sets, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. The Serbian pair were then victorious in the doubles, but it was again not easy and the win only came through a third set match tie-break. Jankovic made a slow start to her match with Su-Wei, dropping her opening service game and going down 2-0. The world No. 3 then broke straight back and won four straight games, which was enough to clinch the set 6-4. It was 2-2 in the second before Jankovic won three straight games to lead 5-2. Su-Wei then won two straight games, but Jankovic also clinched that set 6-4 to win on her Hyundai Hopman Cup debut. The men’s battle was far from what Djokovic would have hoped on his return to the Hyundai Hopman Cup. In the opening set, Djokovic broke Lu’s serve for a 4-2 advantage, but Lu just as quickly broke back. In the end, Djokovic claimed the first set 7-5 after a gruelling 75 minutes. Djokovic’s second set was one he will soon like to forget. Hampered by a back injury that he received treatment on, Djokovic was far from his buoyant self. In likely the best set victory of his career for the 110th ranked player, Lu raced to a 4-0 lead and won the set 6-2. Djokovic looked to be moving a little better to begin the third set as he raced to 3-0 lead. He maintained that advantage the rest of the set to win it 6-3 and take the match in three tough sets. In the doubles, the Chinese Taipei pair continued their impressive form from the Asian Hopman Cup in Bangkok by racing to a 4-1 lead in the opening set. They went on to win the set 6-3, but lost the second 2-6. The Serbian pair then won the match tie-break 10-8. The top seeds and world’s best ranked team found it a lot harder against the Asian Hopman Cup winners than they would have hoped, but a win is a win and the Serbians next face France on Wednesday. Chinese Taipei’s next opponents are Argentina on Wednesday night.
First match of the year for Djoke, first injury timeout, first tank of a set, first miraculous recovery to sideswipe his opponent and get the early lead in the third set.
The Serpent is back to slither all over the tour in 2008. He makes a mockery out of sport.
The men better open their eyes and watch their backs. This one continues to lack any integrity whatsoever.