PERTH, Jan 5: Russia raced to their first Hopman Cup title after singles wins for Nadia Petrova and Dmitry Tursunov gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead over Spain in the final on Friday.
World number six Petrova gave the top seeds the momentum with a 6-0 6-4 demolition of Anabel Medina Garrigues before Tursunov sealed the tie with a 6-4 7-5 victory over world number seven Tommy Robredo.
Since losing their opening pool match against Australia, the Russian duo have improved as the tournament progressed, beating France in their final group tie by the required 3-0 margin to ensure they qualified for a debut appearance in the final.
Petrova, showing no signs of the side strain injury which troubled her earlier in the week, rattled off the first set against Medina Garrigues in 30 minutes helped by some pinpoint groundstrokes.
A roar from the crowd boosted Medina Garrigues as she opened her account in the second set but the Russian broke again to take a 4-2 lead.
The Spaniard managed to level at 4-4, but Petrova secured two match points on her opponent's serve while leading 5-4 and sealed the win in an hour and four minutes at the second attempt when Medina Garrigues's lame forehand drifted wide.
Tursunov, ranked 22 in the world, always looked the sharper against Robredo, who appeared jaded after Spain's final pool match ended in the early hours of Friday morning.
The Russian claimed the opener in 38 minutes with ferocious power hitting from the baseline but Robredo hit back to serve for the second set at 5-4.
Tursunov stepped up his game again to level it and clinched victory with another break in the 12th game, sealed with a crunching forehand service return winner only called in after a referral to Hawk-Eye.
Hingis gets easy ride into final
GOLD COAST: Top seed Martina Hingis got an armchair ride into the final of the Australian Women's Hardcourt tennis championships here Friday when her opponent, Tathiana Garbin, retired due to illness.
Hingis was trailing 3-4 in their semi-final when Garbin called for a trainer after she experienced breathing difficulties.
The Italian had been holding her own against the former world number one when she began to feel the effects of a viral illness she had been suffering this week.
After taking an injury break, Garbin decided she could not continue and handed the match to Hingis.
Hingis started the match slowly, losing her first two service games and trailing 1-3 early in the set.
But she said once she started to find some form she was able to move Garbin around the court, and that was when the Italian began to have difficulties.
Hingis will take on either Russian second seed Dinara Safina or fifth-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel in the final.—Agencies