Watson impresses but Britain miss final spot

Heather Watson
Heather Watson
Have your say

Great Britain were denied a place in the Hopman Cup final as Australia Green edged out France in a tense finish.

The British team of Andy Murray and Heather Watson had put pressure on Australia by beating Germany 3-0 in Perth.

That meant the Australian duo of Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova needed to beat France to secure their place in the final.

Kyrgios comfortably defeated Kenny De Schepper but Gavrilova lost to Caroline Garcia and the mixed doubles went to a deciding match tie-break.

It was close all the way through but Gavrilova pulled off a brilliant volley to save a French match point at 9-8 and they won three points in a row to clinch victory. Their 11-9 success was a repeat of the deciding tie-break they won against Britain on Wednesday, which ultimately proved the difference between the sides.

Nevertheless, Murray and Watson’s performance against Germany saw them finish the tournament on a positive note.

Watson had impressed in beating Gavrilova on Wednesday and claimed a notable scalp with a 6-3 6-4 win over former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki. The British No 2 made the decisive break at 4-3 in the first set before serving it out to 15. The second set was more comfortable for Watson, who broke twice to seal the rubber.

Murray then held his part of the bargain, seeing off highly-rated Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-4.

Murray will now head to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open, which starts a week on Monday, while Watson flies to Tasmania to defend her second WTA Tour title in Hobart.

An Australian team will play in the Hopman Cup final for the first time in 13 years, with Kyrgios and Gavrilova set to take on the Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov and Elina Svitolina.

Great Britain have been handed a favourable draw for the Fed Cup group stage next month.

Judy Murray’s team will play Georgia and South Africa in their pool in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I round-robin tournament in Israel starting on February 3. Murray has named a six-strong squad of Johanna Konta, Heather Watson, Laura Robson, teenager Katie Swan and doubles players Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith, with the final four to be confirmed next month.

Neither Georgia nor South Africa has a player ranked in the top 200.