Associated Press

Perth, January 8:

Daniela Hantuchova and Dominik Hrbaty each won their opening singles matches on Saturday to give Slovakia the Hopman Cup team tennis championship over Argentina.

Hantuchova beat Argentina’s Gisela Dulko 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 and Hrbaty defeated French Open finalist Guillermo Coria 6-4, 6-1 in the final at the Burswood Dome. The Slovakians also won the mixed doubles in a walkover when Coria withdrew with a back strain. Hrbaty did not drop a set in any of his four singles matches at this year’s event.

Hantuchova conceded the first set in just 17 minutes against Dulko, who lost all four of her singles matches. Hantuchova, who lost last year’s final against the United States playing with Karol Kucera, was pleased to give the Slovakians the early lead.

“I’m just so happy that I got through this,” she said. “I didn’t really feel like I was playing my best and I just tried to hang in there and fight for every point.”

It was the second Hopman Cup win by Slovakia — Kucera and Karina Hadsudova won in 1998.

Hrbaty said he had received text messages of support all week from Slovakian Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda. And Hantuchova said it was a special day for her small European homeland.

“It’s been like a dream week for me,” she said. “I had so much fun with Dominik and I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here winning the Hopman Cup. It’s something special and it’s amazing for our country because there’s just five million people.”

Hrbaty said he lifts his game whenever he represents his country. “I’m the kind of guy who likes to go in the team competitions,” he said.

“When I play Davis Cup I can get out 120 percent out of myself, I don’t know how. If I could play like I do in Davis Cup every time I came to a tournament, I would be for sure top 10 all year round.”