Italy fightback to win at Hopman Cup tie


PERTH, Australia (AP) -Italy came from behind to beat Germany 2-1 at the Hopman Cup on Wednesday.

Francesca Schiavone staged a fightback to defeat Tatjana Malek 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and level the tie for Italy after Tommy Haas resisted a solid challenge and defeated Andreas Seppi 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7). Italy then won the doubles 6-4, 7-5.

Malek had arrived in Perth from Miami just 10 hours before taking to the court, after flying over 11,000 miles to replace the injured Andrea Petkovic.

Schiavone took a 3-0 lead, but Malek then swept the next eight games as the Italian made a succession of errors and struggled to deal with her opponent's big forehand and a serve that produced eight aces.

Schiavone began to turn the match around by quickly recovering a break early in the second set. Malek then went on to drop her serve after holding two game points at 3-3, and she was broken again for the set, double-faulting after holding a further three game points.

Although Schiavone appeared to be suffering with an abdominal injury, she broke serve to lead the final set 3-1 and that was enough to secure victory. Her discomfort was later revealed to be due to illness rather than injury.

"I think she played great after 3-0 for me but then I played better," Schiavone said. "For her it was not easy after she just arrived. I have a stomach pain but it's okay. I can resist."

Despite Haas holding six of his service games at love, Seppi was in a position to win both sets.

The Italian broke to lead the opening set 5-4 but failed to serve it out and then conceded the tiebreaker.

In the second set Seppi held off break points at 1-1 and 3-3 and then led the tiebreaker 6-3, but he again failed to close out the set as Haas fought off a total of four set points to claim victory.

"Yeah you know, it's one of those matches," said Haas. "Against Tomic I had five set points in the first tie-breaker and I served for the match and fight through the third and I lost. Today was vice-versa. It's never over until the last point really.

"Overall I think we both played a really good match, high quality tennis overall and very competitive. It came down to a few points here and there."

Later on Wednesday, Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic play the Australian pairing of Bernard Tomic and Ashleigh Barty.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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