Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Liberty, Missouri
Re: ART Hopman Cup Exhibition
Ukraine Lifts First Hopman Cup Title
Despite a slow start and dropping their opening tie to France, Ukraine was able to rebound on the drop of a dime and simply destroy the remaining competition. They would go onto destroy Sweden in their second tie and then win a tight battle over Germany to move into the finals where they would take on the dreaded Russian team. But in the singles Ukraine would dominate and even though they lost the mixed doubles had the title sealed before they even took the court for their final match. The combination of Stakhovsky's giant serves and Bondarenko's crisp clean groundstrokes was obviously too much for everyone else to handle this week and Bondarenko has set herself up as one of the premier players on the ART Tour heading into week one.
Alona Bondarenko wasn't the star singles player that she would have hoped throughout the week. She would lose a heartbreaker over Alize Cornet but was able to beautifully rebound to take out Johanna Larsson whom Alona claimed was the weakest player in the entire tournament before the games began. She would then find herself on the losing end to Julia Goerges but would keep Maria Sharapova's losing streak alive (Maria lost all four of her singles matches this week ultimately costing Russia the crown) by taking her out in three sets. Even though Bondarenko couldn't shine as brightly as she wanted to on the singles court, she was clearly the motivating force behind their mixed doubles success. In their match against France the mixed doubels was the only rubber that the Ukrainians would win, and from there they became a dominating force. They swept Sweden by claiming the mixed doubles and they defeated Germany by pulling out another thrilling mixed doubles match. After they had secured the Hopman Cup Title they would lose their final mixed doubles match to Russia who I don't believe had lost a mixed doubles rubber all week either; fortunately the tie was already decided so Ukraine really did seem to take down their level as bit throughout this match (by no means did they throw the match, but they weren't playing at their best level).
Sergiy Stakhovsky was clearly the man of the tournament. He arguably played the largest role of any player in competition this week. After he was unsuccessful in his first encounter with Gael Monfils, Stakhovsky took out all three remaining opponents including Robin Soderling and Mikhail Youzhny. Stakhousky played a great serve and volley game and really surprised his opponents with his aggression and power that exploded off his racket. He will definitely be back next year to defend his title, and hopefully we will see him team up with Bondarenko again during the grand slam season.
Maria Sharapova ~ Nadia Petrova ~ Maria Kirilenko ~ Ekaterina Makarova
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ~ Elena Vesnina ~ Svetlana Kuznetsova ~ Nina Bratchikova ~ Alexandra Panova
Olga Putchkova ~ Marta Sirotkina ~ Vera Dushevina ~ Valeria Savinykh ~ Valeria Solovieva ~ Irina Khromacheva