Perth - Anabel Medina Garrigues posted a
6-4, 6-2 defeat of Chanelle Scheepers on Saturday to pull Spain level
1-1 against South Africa as the Hopman Cup mixed team event began the
Australian tennis summer.
The world No 50 is playing the event for a third time after reaching the 2007 final for her country.
Garrigues saved face for Spain, a three-time champion at the
eight-nation mixed team event, after Kevin Anderson had given South
Africa the lead by defeating Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
men's match featured only one break of serve as play began at the new
arena, which duplicates the court surface, balls and moveable roof of
the Australian Open, starting in a fortnight.
20-year-old Bernard Tomic and teenaged former junior Wimbledon champion
Ash Barty, were representing the hosts later in an opening-day tie
against Germany featuring veteran Tommy Haas and Andrea Petkovic.
Garrigues advanced on her second match point against the South African
who defeated her in their only WTA meeting, last March in Miami.
"It's tough against her," said the winner. "We have similar games - no mistakes and a lot of rallies.
the Australian heat rule, the roof of the new arena was shut for the
women's match amid 41 degree Celsius temperature which will mark a Perth
heat wave into the New Year. Spectators are untroubled even with the roof
open thanks to air conditioning vents under each seat in the
13 000-capacity facility.
"I'm really glad they closed the roof
or I would not have survived," joked Medina Garrigues, who owns one
hardcourt title - earned in Australia six years ago - amid 10 on her
"I felt better with the roof closed, after coming
from Europe and a 20-degree difference. This court reminds me of the
Australian Open, so it's looking like a good preparation for Melbourne."
won his match with one break of serve against Verdasco, who had won
their meetings in 2011 and 2012. Medina Garrigues won with four breaks
of serve and 15 winners. Scheepers, ranked 60th, committed 42 unforced