Gavrilova leaves Hopman Cup with a smile

Australia’s Hopman Cup title defence crumpled in a heap, but world No.25 Daria Gavrilova salvaged something from the wreck with a fighting win over American Coco Vandeweghe on Thursday night.

Gavrilova’s game was under the spotlight after she put in sub-standard displays in upset losses to world No.66 Lara Arruabarrena and world No.166 Lucie Hradecka in Australia’s opening two ties.

But the 22-year-old bounced back to form with a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win over world No.36 Vandeweghe at Perth Arena on Thursday night.

Australia still lost the tie 2-1, meaning the defending champions ended the tournament without a single tie win to their name.

Drawcard Nick Kyrgios was forced to pull out of the mixed doubles because of an ongoing knee injury.

But Gavrilova said her singles win gave her an important confidence boost heading into the Sydney International, which starts on January 8.

“I really wanted to get that win, because coming into Sydney next week without winning a match is not the best feeling,” Gavrilova said.

“I played two three setters, and that’s good for my match conditioning. Overall I’m happy with my week.

“I felt like I played a lot better than my first match.

“Tonight, I think it all paid off. All the hard work, and thinking positive.”

Gavrilova reached the fourth round of the Australian Open last year on the back of her Hopman Cup title with Kyrgios.

But the Russian-born right-hander said she wasn’t putting too much pressure on herself to repeat those heroics.

“I’m not thinking about Aus Open just yet,” Gavrilova said.

“I’m going to play Sydney, give my best, and not think of my result last year.

“Last year I didn’t put any expectations on myself, so I’m going to try and do the same, even though it’s pretty hard.”

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