Germany have ended their Hopman Cup campaign on a high, edging out Great Britain 2-1 after prevailing in the deciding mixed doubles.
Heather Watson gave Great Britain a perfect start with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) win over Andrea Petkovic.
But rising star Alexander Zverev levelled the tie at 1-1 with a 6-4 6-3 defeat of Dan Evans, before Germany won the Fast4 mixed doubles 4-2 4-2.
Germany’s win wasn’t enough to secure them a spot in Saturday’s final, with 2-1 losses to France and Switzerland costing them any chance of silverware.
But Zverev was happy at least to walk away on a positive note.
“We finally got a win. If we had played mixed doubles like we did today, we maybe would have gotten more than one win,” Zverev said.
“We were always tired after the singles. So it just shows we both played well in the singles. But the mixed doubles was new for us.”
Earlier, Watson launched a fierce second-set comeback to beat Petkovic.
Watson won the first set in 31 minutes, but the match appeared destined for a deciding set after Petkovic raced to a 5-1 lead in the second.
But Watson reeled off the next five games to send it to a tiebreaker, before sealing the win in 92 minutes.
Watson reached a career-high 38th in the world in 2015, but had since slipped to 75th and relative obscurity.
The 24-year-old has set her sights on breaking back into the world’s top 50 this year, and hopes to unveil a new weapon at the Australian Open.
“I’ve definitely started trying new things myself,” Watson said.
“It’s a secret. If it starts working for me, it’s going to stay a secret. If not, then I’ll let you know later.”
Petkovic is ranked 55th in the world, but the 29-year-old German wants to break back into the top 20.
She reached a career-high ranking of ninth in 2011.
“It really sucks being out of the top 50, because you think you can do better, and you know you can do better,” Petkovic said.
“There were a few times where I played bad, a few times where the other girls played well. Hopefully, I can turn it around this year.”
Petkovic finished the Hopman Cup with just one singles win – a straight-sets triumph over France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
She pushed former world No.7 Belinda Bencic to three sets on Wednesday night, but she was disappointed with her display against Watson.
“I wasn’t playing well today. My backhand was off,” Petkovic said.