Perth: Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and teammate Tomas Berdych won their singles matches in straight sets on Wednesday to give the Czech Republic an insurmountable 2-0 lead over the United States at the Hopman Cup.
Kvitova opened with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Berdych beat Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3. Berdych saved four break points while serving for the match before converting his first match point.
Berdych and Kvitova made it a clean sweep when they beat Mattek-Sands and Fish 6-3, 7-5 in mixed doubles. The extra point that the winners earned could help determine the final placings in Group A, where the Czechs are strong favorites to qualify for Saturday`s final.
The Americans, which have won the Hopman Cup a record six times, fell to 0-2 after losing to Denmark in their opening match on Monday in the eight-nation tournament.
The Czechs and Denmark play each other Friday, featuring a singles match between No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and the second-ranked Kvitova, while the U.S. plays Bulgaria.
Earlier Wednesday, Bulgaria`s Tsvetana Pironkova and Grigor Dimitrov came back from a set down to win the deciding mixed doubles and complete a 2-1 victory over Wozniacki and Frederik Nielsen.
The Bulgarians won the mixed doubles 3-6, 6-4, 10-1 after a champions tiebreaker, leaving both teams with 1-1 records in Group A.
Wozniacki had given Denmark the lead when she beat Pironkova 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 but Dimitrov evened it for Bulgaria, beating Nielsen 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Wozniacki beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets in her first singles match Monday just hours after arriving from Thailand.
On Wednesday, she and Pironkova struggled with their serves and Wozniacki was given a code violation for receiving coaching from her father during the seventh game of the third set.
"It was a tough match. I like to give the spectators a little bit of value for their money," Wozniacki said.
"I`m not a real morning person, so 9:30 is pretty early for me."
In Group B on Thursday, winless Australia and China play in the morning before France and Spain, both 2-0, play at night. The winner of France-Spain will advance to the final from that group.
First Published: Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 20:43