Former world No.1 Venus Williams dug deep into her bag of
tricks to power the US to a 2-1 Hopman Cup triumph over France
at Perth Arena.
The US appeared headed for defeat after John Isner slumped to
a 6-3 6-2 loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Williams dropped the
opening set against Mathilde Johansson.
But from 4-1 down in the second set, Williams launched a
stunning fightback, beating Johansson 3-6 7-5 6-4 in 139
minutes to keep the US in the tie.
Williams then teamed with Isner to win the mixed doubles 6-7
(7-5) 6-2 10-8 (match tiebreak), giving the US their second
win of the tournament after their first-up victory over South
The second-seeded US will secure a spot in Saturday night's
final if they can defeat Spain's pairing of Fernando Verdasco
and Anabel Medina Garrigues on Thursday.
"Once again Venus was the MVP, I leaned heavily on her,"
Williams said she never doubted her ability to fight back
"I always believe in myself. That goes a long way," Williams
"At that point (when I trailed in the second set) I was
thinking 'man, I've got to work on my game. The Australian
Open is coming up'.
"I didn't want to let my team down."
Meanwhile, Isner said he wasn't freaking out despite starting
the summer with losses to Tsonga and South African Kevin
The 206cm power-hitter cut a frustrated figure for much of
the 55-minute contest against Tsonga, with his mobility
compromised at times by a slight knee injury that he has
carried in recent times.
But the world No.14 was adamant his preparation for the
Australian Open remained on track.
"Normally it takes me a while to get going. I'm not worried
about it," said Isner.
"I remember about three years ago when I first played this
event, I didn't play so well here but I won the next
"I have time to get ready and I'm confident going into the
season. I've put in good work during the off-season.
"It certainly wasn't my best performance (against Tsonga).
But I'm not freaking out about it.
"My knee's been bothering me a little bit but it's fine. It's
a little tendonitis or something."
Tsonga, who made just four unforced errors compared to
Isner's 21, was pleased with his early-season form, which
included a straight-sets win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco