Poland levels Hopman Cup final

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iol spt jan4 Radwanska-Perth Getty Images Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska levelled the Hopman Cup final with a gruelling win over France's Alize Cornet in a classic singles match. Photo by: Paul Kane

PERTH, Australia – Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska levelled the Hopman Cup final with a gruelling win over France's Alize Cornet in a classic singles match on Saturday night.

The world number five survived a marathon 80-minute second set, during which she held a match point, before the Frenchwoman finally squared the match in the tiebreak with her fifth set point.

However, Cornet had run herself to the point of exhaustion, at one stage suffering the ignominy of incurring a time penalty as she struggled to regain her breath following yet another long rally.

She tired in the final set, allowing Radwanska to prevail in two hours and 33 minutes, 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, in one of the most remarkable matches ever seen at the mixed teams tournament.

The tie was to be decided in the mixed doubles.

Earlier, world number 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gave France the lead in the final.

Tsonga beat the 288th-ranked Grzegorz Panfil, who was a late replacement for Jerzy Janowicz in the Polish team, in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Despite the vast chasm in their rankings, the Frenchman had his hands full with the little-known Panfil in the competition held in Perth, Australia.

Tsonga created numerous break points, converting just two of 14, but got a shock when Panfil capitalised on his only opportunity to break in the ninth game of the second set, levelling the match in the process.

However, Tsonga steadied in the decider. – Sapa-AFP


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