Serbia into Hopman Cup final

2011-01-06 17:09
Novak Djokovic (File)

Perth - Serbia reached the Hopman Cup final after Novak Djokovic defeated Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday.

The Serbs, who whitewashed Kazakhstan on Sunday and Australia on Tuesday, needed to win just one rubber going into their final Group A tie against Belgium.

Serbia will meet either Italy, France or the United States from Group B in Saturday's final.

Ana Ivanovic was unable to unseat Justine Henin in the first rubber, but Djokovic, looking fit and mentally sharp, had little difficulty breezing past Bemelmans. The Belgian pulled off one of the wins of his career against Kazakh Andrey Golubev on Tuesday, but was unable to gain much ground against the world No. 3.

The former top-ranked Henin, who had looked shaky in her earlier victories over Alicia Molik and Sesil Karatantcheva, seemed to have overcome her lingering elbow injury despite dropping a break early on against Ivanovic.

After winning the first set 6-4, Henin took an early lead in the second set and extended it to 4-1 before closing it 6-3.

Earlier, Australia secured a 2-0 win against Kazakhstan, with Lleyton Hewitt seeing off Golubev, and Molik trouncing Karatantcheva.

Hewitt produced his best performance of the week at the mixed team event in beating Golubev 6-3, 6-3.

"I played him at the French Open a couple of years ago and he's a great shot-maker, so it was important for me to go out there and weather the storm against him," Hewitt said. "But not get too far back either where he can feel like he's getting a lot of midcourt balls that he can dictate play and put me on the defensive. It was a bit of a balance for me."

Molik beat Karatantcheva 6-3, 6-2 to make it 2-0 before the mixed doubles.

Molik had lost her two previous matches while Karatantcheva was called in to replace the injured Yaroslava Shvedova.

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