Beyond the Baseline

Sloane Stephens, John Isner to team up in strong Hopman Cup field

Sloane Stephens and John Isner Sloane Stephens and John Isner will be the second seeds at the Hopman Cup. (AFP/Getty Images)

Americans Sloane Stephens and John Isner will begin their 2014 seasons by teaming up at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.

The exhibition, which runs from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4, features mixed teams representing eight countries competing in singles and doubles in round-robin play. It's the first time in Perth for Stephens, who began her 2013 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. This is the third appearance for Isner, who won with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 2011 and partnered with Venus Williams this year.

The Americans join a strong field that includes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Milos Raonic. The teams, seeded by players' singles rankings, have been drawn into two groups. Each team plays the other three teams in its group, and the best pair from each group advances to the final.

Here's the full list of teams and seedings:

Group A

Poland (1): Agnieszka Radwanska & Jerzy Janowicz

Canada (4): Eugenie Bouchard & Milos Raonic

Italy (6): Flavia Pennetta & Andreas Seppi

Australia (7): Sam Stosur & Bernard Tomic

Group B

United States (2): Sloane Stephens & John Isner

France (3): Alize Cornet & Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Czech Republic (5): Petra Kvitova & Radek Stepanek

Spain (8): Anabel Medina Garrigues & Tommy Robredo

The exhibition takes place the same week as the first regular-season ATP and WTA tournaments, meaning some players who opt for the Hopman Cup won't be able to defend tournament points from this year. For instance, Radwanska won't be defending her title points and Stephens her semifinal points from the ASB Classic. But players enjoy the relaxed Hopman Cup atmosphere, which still guarantees them at least three singles matches against top-flight competition as they prepare for the Australian Open.

Here's the launch video announcing next year's teams:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywH9eDvSHLA#t=172
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