Lleyton Hewitt’s bid to land an elusive Hopman Cup crown is over after Australia Gold crashed out of the race for a finals berth.
Hewitt needed to win his singles match in straight sets against Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov on Thursday to keep his team’s title hopes alive after Jarmila Wolfe lost the women’s singles rubber 6-3 6-3 to Elina Svitolina.
But after going a set and a break up, Hewitt faltered on the way to a 4-6 6-3 6-4 defeat.
The result propelled undefeated Ukraine into Saturday’s final.
Ukraine won the tie 2-1 despite losing the mixed doubles 3-6 7-5 10-5 (match tiebreak).
In Group B, Australia Green’s team of Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova are in the box seat to progress to the final after winning their opening two ties against Germany and Great Britain.
A win over France on Friday will secure their spot, but even a loss might get them through, depending on other results.
Hewitt was making his eighth appearance at the Hopman Cup, but he was unable to land an elusive crown.
The 34-year-old will retire after this month’s Australian Open, bringing a close to one of the most decorated careers in Australian tennis.
Australia’s only Hopman Cup title came back in 1999, when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic took out the crown, beating Swedish pair Jonas Bjorkman and Asa Carlsson in the final.
Hewitt’s greatest chance of landing the title – in 2002 – was thwarted when he contracted chicken pox.