Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Serbia v Australia Preview

Courtesy: Hopman Cup

AUSTRALIA'S Alicia Molik and Lleyton Hewitt made a winning start to Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII and now this evening take on the No. 1 seed Serbian team of Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic in a highly-anticipated Session 6 inside the Burswood Dome.

The Aussie team started the Cup off in winning fashion on Saturday with Hewitt beating Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans in the men's singles and then he teamed with Molik to beat Bemelmans and Justine Henin in the mixed doubles.

Serbia also won its opening Tie up against Kazakhstan on Sunday evening with Ivanovic and Djokovic winning their singles matches against Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev.

They also won the mixed doubles so the clean-sweep was the perfect start as they attempt to win the Cup for the first time.

The winner of this evening's Tie will also be in prime position to qualify for Saturday's Final with one Session to go each at the double-header on Thursday.

To begin the Tie in the women's singles Australia's Molik comes up against yet another former world No. 1 and Grand Slam winner in Ivanovic. She put up a fight against Henin on Saturday and now will look to do the same against the Serbian star.

Ivanovic has won the previous two meetings between the pair, but they haven’t met since 2007 when she won at Indian Wells. Tournament Director Paul McNamee is expecting Molik to really take it up to Ivanovic despite going in as the underdog.

"Alicia will know that it's possibly up to her because it's such a big mountain to climb for Lleyton, so she knows that if she is going to get her hands on the diamond trophy she has to win that match," McNamee said.

"I think she's going to be up for it and it's going to be a very good match. It's a match I want to see as well."
Hewitt then faces a big challenge against the world No. 3 Djokovic as he prepares to try and beat him for the first time since the 2006 US Open.

Djokovic has prevailed in their last four meetings and while McNamee has no doubt that Hewitt is still capable of beating the world's top players, he knows he is up against it tonight.

"Lleyton's looking forward to that match and I think he'll go really well, but in the end you've got to give the edge to Novak," McNamee said.

"Lleyton can definitely beat the top guys and he will during the year, but it's a big ask for it to happen in his first tournament back after such a long break."

Hewitt is looking forward to testing himself up against a Djokovic who is reasonably fresh off winning the Davis Cup for Serbia just last month.

"He’s a quality player. He hasn’t had much of a lay off either, so he’d be seeing the ball pretty well I’d imagine," Hewitt said.

"He got some cobwebs out in his opening match, so I’d expect that he’ll be playing pretty well. It’s a hell of an effort to win a Davis Cup. They haven’t been in the World Group for that long really either, so it’s a credit to him."

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