US recover from Sock choke at Hopman Cup

The Hopman Cup final will be decided by a Fast4 mixed doubles encounter after Coco Vandeweghe kept America’s hopes alive with a 6-4 7-5 win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic on Saturday night.Vandeweghe’s win levelled the tie at 1-1 after Frenchman Richard Gasquet beat Jack Sock 6-3 5-7 7-6 (8-6) in the men’s singles rubber.The US are aiming to snare a record seventh Hopman crown, while France want to add to their 2014 success, when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alize Cornet defeated Poland in the final.Vandeweghe destroyed a racket during a tense period in the second set of her singles match.The world No.36 ended up saving break point on the way to winning that game, and she broke Mladenovic a short time later to secure the win in 97 minutes.After the match, she gave her broken racket to a fan in the crowd.”Was it smashed? I don’t remember doing it,” Vandeweghe joked.”I was just trying to keep my team alive. Hopefully we can come out and do some damage in the mixed.”Earlier, Gasquet capitalised on a Sock choke to give France the perfect start to the final. 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 in two-and-a-half hours. “I let it slip away at the end,” Sock said.”I was holding fairly comfortably for a while. So when I got the break I felt pretty good about it.”And then later when I had the match point, I played way too tentatively on it. “If I had it over again, I’d be more aggressive and not decelerate on the ball like I did. “But he puts you under pressure like that, and he comes up with the great shots. It is what it is.”Gasquet said he didn’t panic when he was match point down.”I tried to focus on myself and be tough mentally,” Gasquet said. “It’s very difficult. I know him very well. He’s a great friend of mine. “But on the court, it doesn’t count. We need to fight against each other to win the match. This time I won, last time he won, so that’s the sport.”

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