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 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 10:02 GMT
US knock champions out
James Blake and Serena Williams in Hopman Cup doubles action against Spain
Blake and Williams did not drop a set against Spain

Champions Spain crashed out of the Hopman Cup with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat by the US team of Serena Williams and James Blake.

Williams powered past Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-3 6-3 before Blake bulldozed Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-0.

The US pair then teamed up to complete the whitewash with a 6-1 6-4 victory in the mixed doubles.

Having lost 2-1 to Belgium in their opening match, Spain's second defeat eliminated them from the $1m tournament.

Robredo, who partnered the now-retired Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to victory in the Perth event a year ago, suffered his first defeats in six matches in the competition.

I haven't begun to play my best at all - there's still some way to go

Serena Williams

And while the top-seeded Americans improved on Monday's rusty-looking 3-0 win against Uzbekistan, they promised better again when they face Belgium in their final group game.

"I haven't begun to play my best at all - there's still some way to go," Williams said.

"I'm sure everyone is excited to hear that."

Williams' next opponent is Belgium's Kim Clijsters, her conqueror in last year's season-ending WTA Championships.

Clijsters' surprise win in Los Angeles was her first against Williams in six matches and she now hopes she has the formula to beat Serena and her elder sister, world number two Venus, on a regular basis.

Williams, though, says that November defeat was merely a blip, and she plans to makes amends on Friday.

"I've been looking forward to playing her ever since I came here," the world number one said.

"Last time I played her I was so tired. Mentally I was shot and physically I was dead... I had no energy.

"This time it is different," Williams warned.

In Wednesday's Group B action, the Czech Republic recovered from 1-0 down to beat Italy 2-1.

Silvia Farina Elia beat Daja Bedanova 6-4 2-6 6-2 to give Italy the perfect start.

But Jiri Novak revived his team's hopes when he beat Davide Sanguinetti 6-7 7-5 7-5 in a marathon three-setter lasting almost two and a half hours.

The Czech duo went on to snatch the deciding mixed doubles 6-3 6-3.


Hopman Cup results:

USA beat Spain 3-0
James Blake bt Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-0
Serena Williams bt Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-3 6-3
Blake/S Williams bt Robredo/Ruano Pascual 6-1 6-4

Czech Republic beat Italy 2-1
Daja Bedanova lost to Silvia Farina Elia 6-4 2-6 6-2
Jiri Novak bt Davide Sanguinetti 6-7 7-5 7-5
Bedanova/Novak bt Farina Elia/Sanguinetti 6-3 6-3

See also:

31 Dec 02 | Tennis
29 Dec 02 | Tennis
27 Dec 02 | Tennis
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