Hopman Cup: SA beat France after Tsonga retires

2013-01-05 00:00

PERTH — South Africa beat France 2-1 at the Hopman Cup yesterday when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had to retire in the deciding mixed doubles with a groin injury.

Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa beat Mathilde Johansson 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 before Tsonga defeated Kevin Anderson 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), including winning the final five points of the first-set tiebreaker.

During the singles match, Tsonga appeared to injure his left groin while stretching for a shot.

Scheepers and Anderson had won the first set of the mixed doubles 6-3 and were trailing 1-2 and on serve in the second when Tsonga indicated that he could not continue.

Neither team had a chance of advancing to the final.

Tsonga said he was unsure of the exact nature of his injury, but his retirement was a precaution to ensure he doesn’t worsen the problem before the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 14.

Tsonga is also the top-seeded player in the men’s draw at next week’s Sydney International.

“I don’t know exactly what I have, but I felt something during the singles,” Tsonga said. “It [time] was a bit short between the singles and the mixed doubles, so I didn’t have time to know exactly what is it. It was a bit more sore during the mixed doubles, so for me it was better to quit.”

In the women’s singles, both players struggled to find their best form or consistency, with the pair sharing 111 unforced errors and 33 break points.

At the end of the two-hour, 50-minute match, which included 15 breaks of serve, Johansson finally gave her opponent a crucial breakthrough by dropping serve with her 12th double-fault to leave Scheepers serving for victory.

“I think we both played well within stages of the match,” Scheepers said. “I thought she played a really good match and I just tried to hang in there with her. The moment you give her an easy ball, she goes for it and she gets momentum from that, and I think the key was just to keep playing aggressively regardless of what the score was.”

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