France take lead in Hopman Cup final

Richard Gasquet made the most of a Jack Sock choke to give France a 1-0 lead over the United States in the Hopman Cup final at Perth Arena. Sock was serving for the match at 6-5 up in the third set, only for Gasquet to break back to love to send it into a deciding tiebreak. The American then held a match point in the tiebreak, but hit a forehand into the net to keep Gasquet alive. Gasquet went on to win the match 6-3 5-7 7-6 (8-6) in two-and-a-half hours. The triumph means France are now just one victory away from securing their second Hopman Cup crown. Kristina Mladenovic can secure the title with victory over American Coco Vandeweghe. Mladenovic, ranked 42 in the world, has beaten Vandeweghe just once in five attempts. Sock grew more and more frustrated as the match wore on. The world No.23 almost hit a ball boy when he skittled a ball away while trailing 3-5 in the first set. And he pumped a ball high and into the crowd when Gasquet broke back in the second set to make it 3-3. Sock finally found his groove to put himself on the verge of victory. But nerves set in as he tried to serve out the match, with Gasquet producing the goods when it mattered most.France’s only previous Hopman Cup title came in 2014, when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alize Cornet defeated Poland in the final.The US are aiming to snare a record seventh Hopman crown.

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