PERTH, Australia: World number 10 CoCo Vandeweghe launched her new season in impressive fashion as the United States beat Russia 2-1 on the opening day of the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday. Vandeweghe gave her team the early lead in the tie with a straight-sets win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, before Jack Sock secured victory for the Americans by beating Karen Khachanov in three sets. The Russians then won the mixed doubles dead rubber in three sets under the Fast4 format. The American pair are aiming to go one better after losing to French duo Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic in the tournament final in January this year.
Vandeweghe built on her Hopman Cup success at the start of the year to have a breakout season, reaching two Grand Slam finals — at the Australian and US Opens — and helping the United States to victory in the Fed Cup in November.
She was too powerful for the 15th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova, sealing the win with a trademark forehand winner.
The 26-year-old said she was delighted to be starting her campaign in Perth, and hoped it would be the launching pad again for success in 2018.
“Making it to the final definitely helped me with confidence going into the Australian Open, making the semis there, and now I am top 10 with a Fed Cup to my name,” she said, when asked if the Hopman Cup was a springboard for her 2017 emergence.
Vandeweghe was quick to assert her dominance over her Russian opponent and broke serve in the fourth game of the first set, the first of a number of breaks the American was able to secure.
Pavlyuchenkova staved off set points in the eighth game of the first set and had break points to back on serve in the eighth game of second set, but in the end lacked the firepower to match Vandeweghe, who won 6-3, 6-3.
Sock, ranked eighth in the world, was expected to dispose of Khachanov and took the first set easily, but had to regroup after dropping the second set in disappointing fashion.
He steadied to win 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 and ensure the United States won the opening tie. — AFP
Hopman Cup scores
United States bt Russia 2-1
Women’s singles: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-3, 6-3
Men’s singles: Jack Sock (USA) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
Mixed doubles: Pavlyuchenkova/Khachanov (RUS) bt Vandeweghe/Sock (USA) 3-4 (3/5), 4-1, 4-2