Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic won the Hopman Cup for France on Saturday, beating the United States duo of Jack Sock and Coco Vandeweghe 2-1 in a gripping final in Perth, Australia.
Gasquet got France off to a perfect start, as he edged past Sock in a third-set tiebreak having saved a match point, but Vandeweghe was able to level the tie up in the second match for the United States, notching a routine, straight sets win over Mladenovic.
The mixed-doubles match eventually decided the destination of the title, with Gasquet and Mladenovic too good in the format, winning in straight sets.
Here are the results in full from the climax of this unique competition and a closer look at how this iconic piece of silverware was won.
|France 2-1 United States||Score|
|Richard Gasquet (FRA) bt. Jack Sock (USA)||6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (6)|
|Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)||6-4, 7-5|
|Gasquet/Mladenovic (FRA) bt. Sock/Vandeweghe (USA)||4-1, 4-3 (0)|
Those hoping for a thrilling spectacle to end the 2017 Hopman were sated in the opening match of this final, as Gasquet and Sock produced a nail-biter.
The Frenchman looked much the better player in the opening set, producing some superb tennis to take the opener 6-3. With his backhand firing and his movement on point, Gasquet looked as though he was going to have a little too much for the American.
Per the doublefault28 Twitter account, the Frenchman was producing some sublime tennis in the opener:
But Sock has shown he’s made of stern stuff in this tournament. With the second set seemingly destined for a tiebreak, the 24-year-old broke to go 6-5 ahead and then held serve to level.
The first two sets merely proved to be an appetiser, though. In the decider, Sock again broke Gasquet to move 6-5 in front, although the Frenchman dug deep to restore parity and force a tiebreak. At 6-5 in the breaker, Sock had match point, although once again he was denied by the Frenchman.
And when Gasquet’s chance came at 7-6, he seized it, leaving Sock dejected and the French supporters delighted.
After the match, the American lamented a lack of aggression at key points. “I let it slip away at the end,” Sock said, per the Australian Associated Press (h/t the tournament’s official website). “I was holding fairly comfortably for a while. So when I got the break I felt pretty good about it. And then later when I had the match point, I played way too tentatively on it.”
In the second singles match, Vandeweghe came out firing for the United States, securing an early break of serve and keeping Mladenovic at arm’s length for the remainder of the set.
Mladenovic composed herself well at the start of the second and was able to put some flurries of pressure on her opponent’s serve. However, the American remained resolute. At 5-5 she took her own break opportunity before serving out superbly under pressure for the match.
It meant the winner of this year’s trophy was to be determined in a shortened mixed-doubles match, with each set played to just four games. Given both pairs had won all of their matches in this format at the tournament so far, something had to give.
The French twosome were able to handle the pressure better, though. In the first set, Gasquet and Mladenovic moved into a 2-0 lead, and in the compact format, the deficit proved too much to make up for the Americans as they lost out 4-1.
The second was a similar story, as the French team again showcased superior chemistry on court to race to a 2-0 advantage. But this time Sock and Vandeweghe were able to fight back, forcing a tiebreak at 4-4.
However, any hopes of an American win were distinguished quickly, as Gasquet and Mladenovic won every single point in the breaker, giving France the Hopman Cup for the second time in the event’s history.