Perth, jan 5: Serena Williams and Mardy Fish clinched the United States' fifth Hopman Cup title after beating an injury-plagued Serbia 2-1 in a tight mixed doubles decider.
The US team capped a week of victories in the $1 million event with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win over the top seeded Jelena Jankovic and Novak Djokovic in the doubles."The Serbian team, they really deserve a big round of applause because they were both fighting with injury," Williams said. It's the second time the world No.7 has won the mixed teams event, taking the title for the first time in 2003. The win was perfect lead up for Williams as she prepares to defend her Australian Open title on January 14.
But this time she did not need to play her finals singles rubber, after a hamstring injury forced Jankovic to forfeit the match and give the US an immediate 1-0 lead in the tie.
The pressure was on Djokovic to keep Serbia's hopes alive in his match against Fish, and the No.3 obliged, winning in a gruelling 153 minute thriller, 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4), despite receiving on-court treatment to his shoulder before the third set.
With both the Serbs under an injury cloud, Djokovic joked they'd have to be brought out in wheelchairs for the doubles decider. But they put on a tough fight.
The US team took out the first set in a sensational tie breaker, each side relentlessly belting the ball over the net and occasionally at each other.
Fish then won the match and the tournament in the eighth game of the second set when he smashed a Jankovic serve back down the line.
Jankovic congratulated the winners but jokingly grabbed hold of one of the diamond-encrusted tennis balls which come with the winner's prize.
"I'm a little bit jealous of you guys, because you get the diamond ball and we don't, we get the plate," she said.
Both the top seeded Serbs and the second seeded US team won all three of their ties in the lead up to the final.