PERTH, Australia (AP) – Francesa Schiavone and David Sanguinette beat their highly favored American opponents Wednesday to give Italy a winning 2-0 lead in their round-robin match at the Hopman Cup tennis tournament. Schiavone, who beat No. 5-ranked Kim Clijsters two days earlier, overcame a hamstring injury to upset Monica Seles 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 and give Italy a 1-0 lead.
Sanguinette then beat Jan Michael Gambill 7-6 (1), 6-3, giving Italy the winning margin, with the mixed doubles to be played later Wednesday.
The top-seeded Americans and Italy both are 1-1 in Group A.
Lleyton Hewitt, the world’s No. 1-ranked player, ignored a high fever to win his singles match and then combined with Australian teammate Alicia Molik to beat Argentina. After his second match, he broke out in spots and tournament officials said Hewitt was undergoing tests to determine whether he has chicken pox. Hewitt tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Mariano Zabaleta after Molik was beaten 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4 by Paola Suarez in a Group B match. Hewitt and Molik lost the first set of the mixed doubles but came back for a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 win, including a 10-7 margin in the deciding third-set super tiebreaker, to take the match 2-1, Australia’s second straight win.
On Thursday, Australia will play Spain, also 2-0, with the winner advancing from Group B to Saturday’s final. Hewitt started sluggishly and was broken in his first service game, but it was the only time he dropped his service during the match.
“I don’t feel great, that’s no secret,” said Hewitt, who received treatment from a doctor on Wednesday morning after falling ill overnight. Chicken pox is usually more serious when contracted as an adult, meaning Hewitt’s Australian Open appearance beginning Jan. 14 could be in jeopardy.
Suarez struggled with Molik’s powerful serve in the first set of the women’s singles, but took control in the tiebreaker when the 20-year-old struggled to return serve.
Molik fought back in the second but in the third, Suarez broke her serve in the third game before trading service games to win the match.