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Stephens, Isner start US off with wins at Hopman Cup

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The Canadian Press
12/30/2013 2:25:54 AM
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BRISBANE, Australia -- Sloane Stephens and John Isner ensured the United States made a winning start at the Hopman Cup on Monday and virtually ended Spain's chances in the international mixed team competition.

Stephens, who beat Serena Williams en route to the 2013 Australian Open semifinals, won nine of the last 10 games in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues in the women's singles before Isner beat Daniel Munoz-de La Nava 6-3, 6-4.

Stephens and Isner then combined to win the mixed doubles match for a 3-0 victory.

It was Spain's second defeat in as many days in Perth after a 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic.

At the Brisbane International, fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic beat 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 7-6 (6), No. 8 Carla Suarez beat Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan 6-2, 6-1, and No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia defeated Heather Watson of Britain 6-4, 6-3.

Ashleigh Barty, a 17-year-old Australian qualifier, beat 2012 Brisbane finalist Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 7-5 and could face either No. 3-seeded Maria Sharapova or Caroline Garcia of France in the next round.

Sharapova, who is making her return from a right shoulder injury, was due to play a night match.

The four-time major winner is in the same half of the draw Williams, the defending champion.

The star on the men's side is Roger Federer, who has been working with Stefan Edberg in preparation for the Jan. 13-27 Australian Open. Federer is the latest in a line of highly-ranked players who have hired past greats as coaches in the wake of Andy Murray's success since he started working with Ivan Lendl. Novak Djokovic recently announced a partnership with Boris Becker -- a move that surprised Federer.

"Not necessarily that he hired somebody ... But Becker I was surprised," Federer said. "I didn't think he wanted to become a coach. I didn't expect to see him back on tour.

"I'm happy seeing former greats and legends excited to be doing such a job and wanting to help the next generations. To bring them back into the game, it's a good thing."

In men's first-round matches, Sam Querrey upset seventh-seeded Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 6-4, Marin Cilic had a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Denis Istomin and Jarkko Nieminen beat local hope James Duckworth 6-2, 6-3.

Marinko Matosevic ensured at least one Australian man advanced when he beat Julien Benneteau of France 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

At the ASB Classic tournament in Auckland, Venus Williams beat Andrea Hlavackova 6-3, 7-6 (1) to reach the second round.

Venus Williams, with sister Serena, beat Hlavackoa and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4 in the doubles gold medal match at the 2012 London Olympics and Venus said she was aware of their history Monday.

"We've played so many important matches in doubles and finals ... Olympic finals and I knew it was going to be tough," Williams said. "I was really glad to close it out."

In other first-round matches, Yvonne Meusburger beat seventh-seeded Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-3 and fifth-seeded Jamie Hampton beat wild-card entry Tamira Paszek 1-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Sloane Stephens (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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