Perth - The Spanish pairing of Anabel Medina
Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco won their opening tie at the $1 million
mixed teams Hopman Cup with a 2-1 win over South Africa in sweltering
heat in Perth on Saturday.
The singles rubbers were split in the
Group B tie, with Medina Garrigues beating Chanelle Scheepers and Kevin
Anderson upsetting Verdasco before the Spaniards proved too strong in
the deciding mixed doubles.
The fourth seeds for the eight-nation
tournament, Verdasco and Medina Garrigues won the doubles in a match
tiebreak, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 10-8 on a day where the mercury reached 40 degrees Celsius.
VIDEO: South Africa v Spain Group B match
The South Africans were just two points from an upset win
when they led 8-5 in the match tiebreak before the Spaniards reeled off
the last five points of the match.
Anderson notched his first win
over Verdasco in three attempts in the opening men's singles match,
despite being ranked 13 places below the Spaniard at 37.
African had chances to break the remodelled Verdasco serve in the first
set, but made amends in the tiebreak and then went on win in straight
sets, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, in one hour and 43 minutes.
"It is always a
little tricky in the first match of the year (new season)," said
Anderson, who has been training with his coach in New Zealand.
of us were trying to find our rhythm a little bit, but fortunately I
was able to keep holding serve and play a couple of good points in the
Medina Garrigues, ranked 50th, had too many shots for
the 60th-ranked Scheepers, the two players trading blows from the back
of the court in some lengthy rallies.
Scheepers had won their only
previous encounter and held 11 break points to the Spaniard's eight
during the match, but Medina Garrigues came from a break down in the
first set to win 6-4, 6-2.
"Always when I play against Chanelle it
is a tough match," Medina Garrigues said. "We have a similar game, no
mistakes and a lot of rallies."
Medina Garrigues said it was an extremely testing hit-out in the heat, after coming from the European winter.
Results from the mixed teams Hopman Cup at Perth Arena on Saturday.
Spain beat South Africa 2-1
Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) bt Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 6-4, 6-2
Medina Garrigues/Verdasco (ESP) bt Scheepers/Anderson (RSA) 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 10-8 (match tiebreak)