Day 4 at the Hopman Cup gave Belgium its first tie win of this year’s event with Justine Henin defeating the young fill-in Sesil Karatantcheva 6-4, 6-3 and Ruben Bemelmans upsetting ATP No.36 Andrey Golubev 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 to give them a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan.
Belgium is still alive in the Hopman Cup, even after their earlier loss to Australia, while Kazakhstan will not be able to make the finals after their losses to Serbia and Belgium.
Karatantcheva had flown in last night from Brisbane to replace the injured Yaroslava Shvedova, and while she made a great start on the Grand Slam champion, she was unable to keep up momentum and eventually fell to Henin.
“I have waited 28 years to come here to Perth, but maybe I’ll come back next year. I love to play in Australia, you guys have the culture of the sport and it’s just great. You know about tennis, it’s a great crowd and great atmosphere also to prepare for the Open, so I’m glad about the choice I did,” Henin said.
Later, top seeds Serbia had the daunting task of taking on Team Australia on their opponent’s home court with a sold out crowd of 8,564, according to the Hopman Cup Web site. Ana Ivanovic started off the tie by defeating Alicia Molik 6-4, 6-0.
Novak Djokovic followed up his teammate’s win with a win himself, defeating Lleyton Hewitt 6-2, 6-4 to help keep Serbia unbeaten and clinch the tie over Australia.
“I played great, especially the beginning of the second I was playing some of the best tennis I’ve played in this year and a half. We players have great respect for him (Hewitt) because he’s a big fighter, he keeps on coming back. He’s won everything—Grand Slam, world No. 1, Davis Cup—and he wants more, so you have to respect that,” Djokovic said.
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