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Netherlands in Hopman Cup final

Netherlands stormed into the final of the Hopman Cup. And they did not have to play too much for it !

india Updated: Jan 05, 2006 12:21 IST

The Netherlands was gifted a berth in the final of the Hopman Cup mixed teams tennis tournament on Thursday after German star Nicolas Kiefer pulled out of their Group B tie here with back spasms.

Kiefer, the world number 22 who had courtside treatment on his back during Wednesday's mixed doubles tie against Argentina, could not take to the court on Thursday for his singles clash with Peter Wessels.

The Netherlands had already taken a 1-0 lead in the tie thanks to Michaella Krajicek, a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) winner over Anna-Lena Groenefeld, and were handed a 3-0 sweep with the men's singles and mixed doubles both declared walkovers.

The surprise Dutch finalists only qualified for the main draw of the eight-nation event when they defeated China in a play-off, but won all three of their ties against second-seed Argentina, third-seed Australia and Germany, the bookmakers' favorites to win the tournament.

Tournament officials were expected to comment on Kiefer's condition later Thursday.

The Dutch finished atop the standings in Group B and will meet the winners of Group A in the final on Friday.

The United States are favoured to go through with two first-up wins but the group was due to be decided later Thursday with ties between the Americans and Sweden, who cannot qualify, and Russia and Serbia and Montenegro.

Slovakia won the tournament after qualifying in 1998. Thailand also reached the final as qualifiers in 2000 but lost in the final to South Africa.

First Published: Jan 05, 2006 12:21 IST