Hopman Cup 01 jan 2005 1: Black (148) 3-6 7-65 6-0
Dutch secure Hopman Cup place
The Netherlands, spearheaded by an impressive comeback from 15-year-old Michaella Krajicek, moved through to the main draw of the Hopman Cup after beating Zimbabwe 2-0 in their qualifying tie in Perth on Saturday.
Krajicek, the younger sister of former Dutch Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, is ranked the number one junior in the world and fought back after a tentative start to brush past Zimbabwe's Cara Black 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-0 in the opening women's singles.
Her partner, Peter Wessels, then struggled against Black's older brother Wayne before finally outlasting him 7-6 (9/7), 7-5 in a dogged encounter.
The then redundant mixed doubles was due to be played later in the evening as an exhibition match.
Krajicek started nervously, showing a lack of big match experience by making too many unforced errors and losing four straight games to drop the first set 6-3 in 27 minutes.
But the youngster, playing in her first Hopman Cup, fought back strongly.
"I was really nervous and in the first set I wasn't really playing my tennis," she said.
"In the second I was really lucky to win that and in the third I played really well."
Krajicek, who said she wanted to finish the coming year ranked in the top 100, went for her shots throughout the match but had to work hard for every point against the athletic Zimbabwean.
Her cause was helped by a dominant serve and the fact that her rival seemed to lack any sort of knockout shot.
"I was trying to get to the net every time but my volleys were not going really well. She was running really good so it was tough to make the point," she said.
Wessels, ranked 90 in the world, was forced to the wire by the 1365th-ranked Wayne Black, fighting back from a service break in the first set before wearing down his rival in a long tie-break tussle which saw the set drag on for 55 minutes.
But in the end his superior technique was enough to see him over the line in straight sets and carry Holland into the main draw of the eight-team competition.
"It seemed like I couldn't loosen up during the whole match," Wessels said.
"I was a little bit tight, I don't know, it was the first match of the year and I haven't played a match since the end of November.
"But it doesn't really matter how I played now - we got the win and that's all that matters."
The Dutch team will now compete in the main group of the Cup for the first time in nine years, joining Group B with reigning champions the United States, the Slovak Republic and Australia.
Group A includes favourites Russia, Germany, Argentina and Italy. The latter two nations open their campaigns against each other today.
|Dutch secure Hopman Cup place 1 januari 2005|
|Interview Hopman Cup 2005 na Zimbabwe 1 januari 2005|