Alexa

France upsets defending champion United States, Australia beats Russia 2-1

France upsets defending champion United States, Australia beats Russia 2-1

Late inclusion France upset defending champion United States and Australia beat top-seeded Russia on the opening day of the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament.
Tatiana Golovin had a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over Ashley Harkleroad and No. 213-ranked Jerome Haehnel beat Mardy Fish 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3) Saturday to give France an unbeatable lead.
"It is a big win, I really didn't expect to come, and I really didn't expect to win, so it is very cool for me," said Haehnel, who canceled a planned holiday to represent France.
The French pair forfeited the mixed doubles match after Golovin complained of a sore ankle.
Haehnel's biggest previous win was over Andre Agassi in the first round of the 2004 French Open, his first match at the elite level on the ATP Tour.
Olympic silver medalist Fish, ranked No. 47, was a replacement for Taylor Dent, who combined with Lisa Raymond to win the last Hopman Cup.
Dent withdrew from a title defense because of a back problem. Harkleroad was called into the U.S. team when former women's No. 1 Venus Williams pulled out with a wrist complaint.
France only gained an invitation in the eight-nation event when Germany could not find a replacement at late notice for the injured Nicolas Kiefer.
Golovin said she still felt a bit of jet lag after winning the first set, having only arrived in Australia from Florida less than 24 hours before the match.
"I didn't get a lot of practice in this morning, so I think I just got a little bit tight, but I refocused and regrouped in the third set," Golovin said.
In the opening match up of the tournament, Alicia Molik and Mark Philippoussis won their singles matches to secure Australia's victory before dropping the mixed doubles to Russia.
Molik, who has struggled on the tour because an inner-ear problem, had a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win over No. 6-ranked Nadia Petrova and Philippoussis then beat Russian Davis Cup star Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 7-6 (0).
Philippoussis spent most of last season off the tour and is hoping to get a wild-card entry at the Australian Open next month,
"It is nothing to get excited about, it was a good match and a good win, a positive start," Philippoussis said.
The former Wimbledon finalist has been working with Andre Agassi's former trainers Darren Cahill and Gil Reyes in Las Vegas.
Philippoussis said his fitness work with Reyes had given him a great platform for the 2007 season.
"I feel like I have a very good base and it is definitely very important for me now to build on that base and to keep getting strong," he said.
India will make its Hopman Cup debut on Sunday against the Czech Republic.