Hingis, Federer win Hopman Cup title over U.S.
PERTH, Australia (AP) -- Switzerland won the Hopman Cup mixed team tennis championship Saturday as Martina Hingis, making her fourth attempt to claim the title, defeated Monica Seles of the United States 7-5, 6-4.
Switzerland's victory prevented Seles from becoming the first player to win the event for different countries after she triumphed for Yugoslavia in 1991 with partner Goran Prpic.
After Hingis gave Switzerland the early lead, Roger Federer defeated American Jan-Michael Gambill 6-4, 6-3, to clinch the win.
Seles and Gambill beat Hingis and Federer 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in the mixed doubles match to make the final score 2-1.
Hingis is now unbeaten in 14 singles matches at the Hopman Cup, but she had been denied the title until this year. The closest she had come was when she partnered Marc Rosset to the final in 1996.
That year, the Swiss team was forced to retire at 5-5 in the deciding doubles when Rosset hit a courtside advertising board in frustration and injured his hand.
Seles' 71-minute battle with Hingis was worthy of a Grand Slam final as each player tested the other to the limit. Hingis twice took the lead in the opening set, breaking for 2-1 and again for 4-3, only to see Seles level each time.
But at 5-5, Hingis broke for a third time by chasing down a dropshot and trapping Seles with her return, and then served out to love for the set.
Seles continued to offer a strong challenge, particularly troubling Hingis with a serve that produced seven aces and by controlling the middle of the court, running the world No. 1 from side to side.
But the breakthrough in the second set fell to Hingis after both players had held serve comfortably until 4-4. Seles then netted a double-handed forehand to give Hingis the vital break, and Hingis served out the match.
"Monica is a great competitor," said Hingis. "She's such an aggressive player and she served very well and always had me under pressure. I definitely had to run today."
Federer looked the calmer player under pressure, and he gave up just one point in his first four service games. With the American struggling to play a serve-and-volley game, the steadier Federer gained the only break of the opening set to lead 3-2 when Gambill sent a double-handed forehand wide.
Federer was pressured as he served for the set, being taken to deuce, but he served out safely for the set. In the second set Gambill offered some strong resistance as he made fewer unforced errors and some good returns.
But a volley into the net eventually gave Federer a vital break for 4-3.
The American had an opportunity to pull the match out of the fire when he held a break point in the next game, but a service winner got Federer out of trouble and a frustrated Gambill then dropped the final game.