Tennis: Brits surprise Greeks at Hopman Cup

Britain's Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter prevailed in three sets in the opening tie of the mixed-team Hopman Cup in Perth on Dec 29, 2018.
Britain's Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter prevailed in three sets in the opening tie of the mixed-team Hopman Cup in Perth on Dec 29, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PERTH (AFP) - A shock singles win for the unheralded Cameron Norrie over star Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas inspired Britain to victory in the opening tie of the mixed-team Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday (Dec 29).

He secured the biggest scalp of his career to upset the exciting Tsitsipas in the opening men's singles, but Maria Sakkari then squared the Group B tie with a three-set win over Katie Boulter.

In the deciding mixed doubles, played under the match tiebreak format, the Greeks had multiple match points, but it was the Britons who prevailed in three sets.

In the men's singles, world No. 200 Norrie upset the 20-year-old Tsitsipas in straight sets, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4.

Tsitsipas is one of the hottest young talents in world tennis, having shot from 91st in the world at the start of the year to his current lofty heights of 15th.

He beat superstar Novak Djokovic earlier this year and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, but looked rusty in his first outing of the new season although he showed flashes of his best form, particularly the ability to scramble under pressure.

However, the booming forehand of the 23-year-old Norrie was a big factor in the match.

The first set was decided in a tiebreaker, with both players holding set points before Norrie closed it out.

In the second set, Tsitsipas went up an early break only for the Briton, who was born in South Africa and has lived in New Zealand and the United States, to break back in the sixth game.

Another break in the 10th game secured the set and match for Norrie, who attended a family wedding south of Perth before the Hopman Cup.

The left-hander said it was one of his best wins.

"He came up with some big shots, but so did I and managed to hold my nerve," he said.

"The second set I stayed solid and played well at the end."

In the women's singles, Sakkari came out blazing and won the first set without dropping a game, but Boulter then steadied herself to level the match.

Two early breaks in the third set laid the foundation for Sakkari to prevail 6-0, 4-6, 6-2.

The Britons clinched the first set in the mixed doubles, but the Greeks fought back as Tsitsipas adjusted to his first-ever mixed doubles match.

The Greeks had the tie at their mercy when they led 3-0 and held their first match point, but the British pair hung in there to win 4-3 (5-0), 3-4 (2-5), 4-3 (5-4).

Also in the group are the defending champions Switzerland and the United States.