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India out of Cup

Perth: Indian hopes of making the Hopman Cup final ended when the United States defeated hosts Australia to top group B here on Thursday.

India, knowing that even a win in the last league encounter was not enough to make the title clash, later lost 1-2 to the Czech Republic.

When the day started, India needed a win against the Czech Republic combined with a US defeat in their last group B tie, to make their maiden final.

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna were outplayed in singles though they were successful in stretching their unbeaten run in the mixed doubles as Indians finished second in the group.

Sania went down fighting against world No. 23 Lucie Safarova and Bopanna failed to counter the class of Tomas Berdych.

Sania recovered from a sloppy first set but failed to sustain the momentum and eventually lost 2-6, 6-4, 3-6 in 110 minutes to hand the Czechs a 1-0 lead.

Bopanna was outclassed by Berdych 4-6, 0-6 in just 58 minutes.

The Indians, however, combined well to earn a 6-3, 6-2 win in the dead mixed rubber. The Indian pair’s victory was their sixth on the trot in the Hopman Cup having won all their three mixed doubles ties last year.

Sania managed just one singles victory this year while Bopanna is yet to win one at the event. “The good thing is we got a lot of matches in this week — a lot of good matches, so it is very good preparation for the Australian Open,” Sania said.

Top seeds Serbia later shrugged off Jelena Jankovic’s ongoing injury on Thursday to clinch a Hopman Cup final showdown with United States.

Serbia beat Argentina 2-1 to finish top of Group A while the US, led by Serena Williams, whitewashed hosts Australia 3-0 to win group B.

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