PERTH — Team USA took the first step towards a Hopman Cup challenge with a younger tandem in Jack Sock and Coco Vadeweghe.
Playing on the first hours of New Year’s Day at the Perth Arena, Sock and Vandeweghe claimed the opening tie of the Hopman Cup beating the Czech Republic 3-0 in an entertaining setto.
Taking the spot of world no. 1 Serana Williams who skipped the event this year, Vandeweghe took the first point for USA beating Lucie Hradecka 6-4 6-2 on Sunday in the women’s singles before world No.23 Sock took the second point with a 7-5 3-6 6-3 decider over Adam Pavlasek.
Sock and Vandeweghe capped their opening triumph with a very friendly dead-rubber mixed doubles 2-4 4-2 4-1, played for the first time under the Fast4 format in this pre-Australian Open event staged for the 29th time in this bustling West Australia capital.
The USA-Czech Republic tie did not fill up the massive Perth Arena but it was not short of entertainment.
Sock playfully toyed with a linesman whom he invited to the court to hit balls with and then grabbed the sunnies of a woman umpire and played with it for a game in the mixed doubles.
The singles matches though were not bereft of action. Ranked world no. 75, Pavlasek, only 22, held his own against Sock, conceding break points in only one game of the first set, then sending down seven aces to win the second and levelling the match.
The tall American though registered fewer unforced errors in the third set, allowing him to claim victory.
Earlier, Vandeweghe, ranked 36 in the world, converted three of seven break points to dispose of the no. 166 Hradecka, a late replacement for Petra Kvitova, in 69 minutes.
Vandeweghe had only 57 per cent of her first serves in, but won 61 per cent of her second serves. She had one double double faults against Hradecka’s six.