PERTH, Australia (AP) – Jan-Michael Gambill beat Xavier Malisse in two tiebreakers, giving the United States a decisive lead over Belgium and a berth in Saturday’s Hopman Cup final against Spain.
Malisse twice received treatment on his back during changeovers while losing to Gambill 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) on Friday. The Belgian also took a three-minute injury break. After the match, Gambill questioned Malisse’s injury.
I'm not sure if he's not 100 percent or not,'' he said.He played as good tennis after the injury break as before, so you’ve got to look at that. He had some sort of problem, but I think he got over it.”
Monica Seles gave the Americans a winning start with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Kim Clijsters, the fifth-ranked player.
Kim and I both wanted this match because we needed it for our teams,'' Seles said.We wanted it badly and we gave it our all.”
Clijsters and Malisse made the final margin 2-1 for the Americans when the Belgians won the mixed doubles 7-6 (3), 6-2.
Italy’s bid for a finals berth ended when Frenchman Arnaud Clement defeated Davide Sanguinetti 6-2, 7-5 to leave the Italians one match short of qualifying. Italy won 2-1 but needed a 3-0 sweep to advance to the final.
Virginie Razzano of France injured her ankle in the first set of her match with Francesca Schiavone and defaulted at 1-1. The French had to default the mixed doubles because of Razzano’s injury.