sport

Spain beat SA in Hopman Cup

Spain came from 1-0 down to claim a 2-1 victory over South Africa in the Hopman Cup at Perth Arena.

Kevin Anderson had put South Africa ahead with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 defeat of Fernando Verdasco in a tight match which featured just one break of serve.

Anabel Medina Garrigues then brought Spain level with a 6-4 6-2 defeat of Chanelle Scheepers.

The world number 50 won with four breaks of serve and 15 winners to save face for Spain with Medina Garrigues and Verdasco combining for the decisive rubber with the Spaniards winning 6-4 6-7 (7-3) 10-8.

The South Africans were unable to force an opening against the serve of the Spanish pair and the number four seeds claimed the first set 6-4 in 34 minutes.

A tiebreak was required to decide the second set and it was the South Africans who gained the upper hand early claiming the first three points.

It was an advantage they were never to relinquish as the Spaniards failed to win a point on their own serve; South Africa claiming the tiebreak 7-3 to force a match tiebreak.

South Africa again skipped away early in the deciding set, leading 5-2 after the first rotation of serves but Spain strung together the next three points to square the match tiebreak at 5-5.

The South Africans moved to the verge of victory at 8-5 but once more Spain fought back claiming both points on the serve of Scheepers before Anderson failed to put away a couple of high volleys to give up the lead and a match point.

And the Spaniards only required one opportunity, Verdasco's backhand return proving too tough for Scheepers to handle at the net to complete five consecutive points to the number four seeds and a 10-8 match tiebreak win.