Perth: The United States and Denmark were even at the Hopman Cup on Monday after singles victories by Mardy Fish and Caroline Wozniacki.
Mixed doubles will decide the best-of-three series in this tuneup for the Australian Open.
The top-ranked Wozniacki made it 1-1, beating Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-6 (4), 6-2 after trailing 3-0 and 5-1 in the first set. Wozniacki arrived in Western Australia earlier in the day from Thailand and was given extra practice time on the hard courts.
After officials changed the order of singles matches, Fish opened by defeating Frederik Neilsen 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
In another Group A series, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych won singles matches to send the Czech Republic past Bulgaria 2-1.
On Tuesday in Group B, Spain will attempt to win its second straight match when it plays China (0-1). France (1-0) will try to keep host Australia winless when they play at night. The teams with the best group records play in Saturday`s final.
Fish broke Neilsen when the Dane was serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set to force the tiebreaker.
"The first one of the year is never pretty," Fish said. "To be honest, I feel like I haven`t had much time off. ... It feels like only a couple of weeks ago I was in London at the tour finals. I am working on a lot of things on the mental side of things to improve myself, and during the match today, I was thinking about that and maybe a little less on the match."
Fish is coming off his best year, moving into the top 10 for the first time in May 2010, winning a tournament and playing consistently well. He is ranked No. 8 and attributes his improvement in part to a loss of 30 pounds.
"It`s been the discipline of losing that weight and really getting into as good a shape as I can," Fish said. "When I lay my head on the pillow every night, I know I make the right choices, I put in the time."
In the Czech Republic-Bulgaria matches, Kvitova won the last five games of her match to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-2 before seventh-ranked Berdych defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3.
Pironkova and Dimitrov won the mixed doubles, saving three match points to defeat the Czech pair 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 in a result that could help determine Group A placings and decide which teams advance to Saturday`s final.
Kvitova, ranked No. 2, won five other tournaments in 2011 in addition to Wimbledon and helped the Czech Republic to the Fed Cup title. She was also honored as the WTA Tour player of the year.
"Of course, the first match was tough and I won it," she said. "The last season was longer than normal and I had some rest. Hopefully I am ready to play matches — we will see how it goes."
First Published: Monday, January 02, 2012, 20:44