Nick Kyrgios’s surge carries Australia Green past Germany at Hopman Cup
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Nick Kyrgios broke Alexander Zverev’s service at 3–3 in the deciding set for a 4–6, 6–1, 6–4 win Sunday, giving his Australia Green team the winning edge over Germany at the Hopman Cup.
Earlier, Russian-born Daria Gavrilova beat Sabine Lisicki 6–2, 6–2 to give the Australian side the early lead in the mixed teams tournament, part of the Australian Open Series ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year beginning Jan. 18 at Melbourne Park.
Kyrgios and Gavrilova later combined for a 6–3, 4–6, 10–7 (match tiebreak) win in mixed doubles to complete a 3–0 win.
The 18-year-old Zverev, at 83rd, is the youngest player in the top 100 in ATP rankings.
“I really like the kid,” the 20-year-old Kyrgios said. “He’s got a great future ahead and he’s a great athlete for his size and moves well and serves big.”
For the first time in the Hopman Cup’s 28-year history, Australia is being represented by two teams. Lleyton Hewitt and Jarmila Wolfe-Gajdosova of Australia Gold were to play Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova and Jiri Vesely of Czech Republic later Sunday.
Hewitt, who will retire after the Australian Open, has already been named captain of Australia's David Cup team.
At the Brisbane International, former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova overcame Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer, recovering from 4–3 and 0–40 down on her serve in the third set to win 3–6, 6–4, 6–4.
Cibulkova missed four months of competition last year to undergo Achilles tendon surgery.
The Slovakian will next face the winner of the first-round match between former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and eighth-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy, who upset Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals last year, ending Williams’s attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.
In other first-round matches Sunday, Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky became the first seeded player eliminated when she was beaten by Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a 2013 finalist in Brisbane, 6–2, 6–1.
American Varvara Lepchenko defeated Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6–2, 6–1 to set up a meeting with last year’s Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza, who is seeded second.
In an all-French matchup, Alize Cornet beat Kristina Mladenovic 6–3, 6–4.
Top-seeded Roger Federer and second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan have first-round byes in the men’s draw at Brisbane.
Federer might not play until Wednesday, and when he does he’ll have former No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic as his coach for the first time. The 17-time Grand Slam champion hired the Croatian to work alongside head coach Severin Luthi in 2016 after Stefan Edberg opted not to continue with a third year in Federer’s camp.
“What I like about him, he’s very direct—he lets you know what he sees and thinks,” Federer told Australian Associated Press. “We train very well together. He’s got good insight. He’s played against a bunch of players that I’ve played against. We played against each other over 15 times as well so he knows my game very well.”