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India beat Australia in thrilling Hopman Cup tie

By defeating Aus 2-1 in their second tie of the Hopman Cup, India has kept alive their chances of making it to the International Tennis Federation final.

sports Updated: Jan 01, 2008 18:38 IST

India toiled hard to defeat hosts Australia 2-1 in their second tie of the Hopman Cup on Tuesday, and kept alive their chances of making it to the final of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) team event.

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna claimed the honours for India, winning the deciding mixed doubles rubber in a tie-breaker against Alicia Molik and Peter Luczak 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (13/11) at Burswood Dome in Perth.

Earlier in a tight women's singles match, Sania defeated Molik 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Molik had a poor day at the office in front of her home crowd, committing 17 unforced errors in the opening set against Sania while playing the round-robin event for her nation for the second straight year.

Molik found some of her missing form in the second set, coming out with a 4-1 lead after a run of three consecutive breaks of serve to eventually square the contest.

"She stopped missing the ball and I made some stupid mistakes," said Sania after the match.

In the third set, Sania, who missed four months through injury and minor surgery in 2007, could only look on as Molik saved three match points trailing 1-5, 40-15, but Sania finally prevailed as she produced 27 winners and converted six of 17 break points.

However, 79th ranked Luczak kept the home team's hopes alive, winning his singles rubber against 267th ranked Bopanna in straight sets 7-6, 6-3.

India, seeded seventh, now face third seed Czech Republic in their last group tie Thursday, while sixth seed Australia will be up against the second seeded US.