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 Argentinaâ€™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 yearâ€™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 yearâ€™s final against the United States playing with Karol Kucera, was pleased to give the Slovakians the early lead.
â€œIâ€™m just so happy that I got through this,â€ she said. â€œI didnâ€™t really feel like I was playing my best and I just tried to hang in there and fight for every point.â€
It was the second Hopman Cup win by Slovakia â€” 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.
â€œItâ€™s been like a dream week for me,â€ she said. â€œI had so much fun with Dominik and I canâ€™t tell you how happy I am to be here winning the Hopman Cup. Itâ€™s something special and itâ€™s amazing for our country because thereâ€™s just five million people.â€
Hrbaty said he lifts his game whenever he represents his country. â€œIâ€™m the kind of guy who likes to go in the team competitions,â€ he said.
â€œWhen I play Davis Cup I can get out 120 percent out of myself, I donâ€™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.â€