Ukraine make in two from two in Hopman

Ukraine took a potential grip on a spot in the weekend Hopman Cup final as Elina Svitolina and Alexandr Dolgopolov both pounded out straight-set results to earn a 2-0 winning scoreline over the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

The Ukraine now owns two wins from as many ties after starting the eight-nation mixed team competition with a defeat of the US.

The team plays a last group match against Australia Gold with Lleyton Hewitt and Jarmila Wolfe on Thursday to wrap up round-robin play.

Svitolina began the tie with a solid defeat of Czech Karolina Pliskova 7-5 6-2, taking less than an hour to give her nation a valuable first point.

Dolgopolov then followed up with 11 aces as he secured the tie over Jiri Vesely 7-5 7-6 (7-3).

“I was really focussed from the first point,” said the 19th-ranked Svitolina. “She is tough to play. You must be focussed from the first.

“You never know how she will play, but she really fights when she is down. I’ve raised my level in the off-season and I’m serving much better.

“I’m also playing with more confidence. This is a new season and a new match. I’m happy with the performance today.”

Dolgopolov broke Vesely in the final game to claim the opening set and then unleashed his big serve in the tiebreaker to take the afternoon win.

“There were not a lot of errors. I had chances in the second set and he had some in the first. It was a tight match and I’m happy to be the winner in two.

“I’ve been working on a lot of things with my new coach. I’m trying to get better in every aspect of my game. Our team has been playing well so far so it’s good to be in this position.”

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