Duval conquers cancer and house robbers

She’s battled cancer, been held at gunpoint and almost lost her dad in an earthquake.

So it’s little wonder Vicky Duval was loving life to the max even while copping a Hopman Cup thrashing on Monday.

Duval was handed a late call-up for America’s Hopman Cup opener on Monday after world No.1 Serena Williams pulled out with a knee injury.

The 20-year-old was wiped off the court 6-4 6-1 by world No.19 Elina Svitolina, with Ukraine taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie when Alexandr Dolgopolov beat Jack Sock 6-4 6-2.

Although Duval and Sock rebounded to win the mixed doubles 6-2 6-3, the 2-1 tie defeat left the US facing an uphill battle to reach the final.

But for Duval, even being out on the court was a magical experience.

Duval faced an uncertain future after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the lead-up to Wimbledon in 2014.

The American put aside the distressing news to reach the second round of the prestigious tournament, before undergoing intensive cancer treatment.

Duval beat the cancer, and she returned to the court last August to play a handful of tournaments before wrapping up her year.

The Haitian-born right-hander was lured to the Hopman Cup as a reserve player, and she relished the chance to fill in for Williams.

“It was amazing. I was kind of nervous because I was filling in big shoes. But I had a really fun time today,” Duval said after her singles loss.

“This illness is behind me now. I’m just grateful I went through it really well.

“I have a whole new outlook on life.

“I really appreciate the time I have out on the court.

“Every opportunity I have I embrace it on a whole new level.

“I’m just really grateful to be back and do what I love. And I’m going to keep pushing until I get the results I want.”

When Duval was just seven years old, she was held hostage at gunpoint by robbers at her aunt’s house in Port-au-Prince.

Then in 2010, her father nearly died after being buried alive during a destructive earthquake in Haiti.

Duval is now looking forward to building on her fledgling tennis career.

And the world No.656 already shown glimpses of her talent.

In 2013, Duval notched one of the biggest upsets in US Open history by beating former champion Sam Stosur 5-7 6-4 6-4 in the opening round.

Duval, who reached a career-high of 87th in the world the following year, will use her protected ranking to gain direct entry into this month’s Australian Open.

Williams is confident she’ll be able to return to the court for America’s clash with Australia Gold at Perth Arena on Tuesday night.

But if she doesn’t, Duval will jump at the chance to represent America again.

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