Italy keep cup hopes alive

Italy's Flavia Pennetta and Andreas Seppi beat Australia's Samantha Stosur and Bernard Tomic in the deciding mixed doubles rubber to keep their country's Hopman Cup hopes alive.

After the singles matches were split, the Italian pairing won 6-3 6-4 to record a 2-1 victory over the hosts at the mixed teams tournament in Perth on Tuesday.

To have a chance of advancing to Saturday's final, Italy must now whitewash Canada on Thursday and hope Australia do the same to unbeaten Poland. But the host nation are out of contention in the tournament after losing both their Group A ties.

Earlier, Pennetta set the Italians on their way in the women's singles, beating former US Open winner Stosur 6-4 6-4.

The Italian broke the Australian's serve four times to record her latest victory over her opponent - with the world No 31 now having won all five of her singles clashes against the world No 18.

Good fight

"We always have a good fight and then I always win," she said afterwards.

"Today was a good match for the crowd and for us to be ready for next week (at the Australian Open)."

Australia levelled the tie in the men's singles, with Tomic coming from a set down to beat Seppi 4-6 6-3 6-2.

Tomic said afterwards his main focus is to ensure he is playing at the best level he can in the Australian Open and in the Sydney International, played ahead of the Grand Slam event.

"So this week is a training week for me," said the world No 51, who had spent two hours on the practice court before the clash with Seppi.

"I'm using every match that I can, playing a little bit tired... I've got to push myself.

"I know I was feeling a bit tired out there but it's going to make me stronger for the big one in a few weeks."