Italy stun France in Hopman Cup comeback upset

January 6th, 2009 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger FedererPerth, Jan 6 (DPA) Italy’s Simone Bolelli and Flavia Pennetta staged an upset against France’s Gilles Simon and Alize Cornet at the Hopman Cup’s mixed doubles Tuesday, earning a 2-1 victory which keeps both teams in with a chance to reach the Friday final.The untried Italian pair surprised off-the-boil Simon and Cornet 6-4, 7-6.

France had been a pre-event favourite for a possible sweep into the final at the eight-nation team competition, but didn’t reckon on the consistency of their Italian opposition.

“We had our chances but they played better today,” said Cornet. “We’re disappointed but we still have a chance to go into the final.”

Bolelli scored a breakthrough victory over world number seven Simon 6-3, 6-3 to draw his nation level 1-1 after French number one Cornet dominated Pennetta 7-5, 6-2 in their singles.

The 38th-ranked Bolelli found a seam of form to stop Simon, who beat Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic last season.

Simon said he may have over-trained. “I wasn’t moving like usual. I worked a lot in the last days and I got tired. I will rest for Russia (Thursday). I need my legs to play well.”

Bolelli played what he called the match of his career to salvage the tie. “I finally won against a top ten player, it’s the first time,” said the delighted Italian. “I played well, served very good and played aggressive.

“I missed a few balls but it was almost perfect for me.”

Simon was well off his game, striking 22 unforced errors and losing serve four times.

“After winning the first set, I had confidence,” said Bolelli. “I played good tactics. I know that I have the game to play well against top guys.”

Cornet had some trouble breathing in the first set, but the 19-year-old laughed it off, saying she was still adjusting to the Australian summer heat after arriving from winter in France.

“I was feeling my breathing in the whole match, sometimes I forget to breath properly,” she said, “But it’s completely normal, don’t worry.”

In the night tie, Australia were facing the Slovak Republic with the host nation needing a victory to have any outside chance of reaching the Friday final after a 2-1 defeat Monday against Germany.

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