Australia ease past Canada in Hopman Cup opener


PERTH (Reuters) – Daria Gavrilova beat Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets but Thanasi Kokkinakis was made to work harder to edge out Vasek Pospisil and give Australia a winning start to their Hopman Cup campaign against Canada on Sunday.

Gavrilova gave the hosts a flying start in the round robin stage of the eight-nation mixed team event, beating former world number five Bouchard 6-1 6-4 at the Perth Arena.

The nimble-footed Australian raced to a 5-0 lead in the opener but faced more of a challenge in the next, despite claiming the first three games of the second set against the Canadian.

Gavrilova held firm as Bouchard mounted a comeback attempt, saving three break points at 3-2 before sealing the straight-sets victory.

“The first set was great but I definitely felt some nerves at the end. I was going for it all too much. It bodes well and it was nice to win again,” the world number 25 told reporters.

“I was very happy with the start. I was very physical from the beginning, made it tough for her out there from the very first point.”

Kokkinakis needed to take a longer route for his 6-4 3-6 6-3 triumph.

After dropping the opener, Pospisil dug deep to force a decider and went toe-to-toe with the Australian until the sixth game when he staved off three break points before Kokkinakis capitalized on the fourth to make the vital breakthrough.

The Canadians went on to win the dead rubber doubles.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O’Brien

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