Australia close in on Hopman Cup title

World No.36 Daria Gavrilova produced a repeat of her under-12s heroics to put Australia within one win of ending their 17-year Hopman Cup title drought.

Gavrilova’s 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Ukraine’s world No.19 Elina Svitolina on Saturday gave Australia Green a 1-0 lead in the Hopman Cup final.

Nick Kyrgios can secure the crown with victory over in-form Alexandr Dolgopolov in the men’s singles rubber.

Gavrilova trailed 6-1 in the second-set tiebreak, before reeling off seven straight points to secure a famous victory.

“I played a tournament in under 12s, and it was a super tiebreaker, and I was down 9-1 and I ended up winning,” Gavrilova revealed after the epic win over Svitolina.

“I just literally told myself to settle down, just stop thinking of everything. Just think about how to win every point.

“I just played free.”

Gavrilova unleashed a flurry of winners during the opening set to take the early ascendancy.

And even the tennis gods were shining in her favour.

Gavrilova, who only received her Australian visa late last year, went two breaks ahead in the first set when Svitolina’s shot was called long.

Svitolina challenged the call, but the original decision stood because Hawk-Eye failed to work.

A routine win appeared on the cards when Gavrilova stepped up to serve for the match at 5-4 up in the second.

But from there the Russian-born 21-year-old tightened up, before rediscovering her free-wheeling ways when things looked their bleakest in the tiebreak.

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.

The last time Australia reached the final was in 2003, when Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik were defeated 3-0 by Serena Williams and James Blake.

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