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Tomic shines in Hopman Cup win

Date

Perth

Bernard Tomic returns a forehand volley during his singles match against Tommy Haas.

Bernard Tomic returns a forehand volley during his singles match against Tommy Haas. Photo: Getty Images

Australia posted an upset victory over Germany in its opening Hopman Cup tennis tie on Saturday night after Bernard Tomic defeated Tommy Haas in three sets and Andrea Petkovic was forced to retire with a knee injury.

Tomic produced two spirited fightbacks to beat Germany’s Tommy Haas 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-5 in 135 minutes in the mixed teams event.

Petkovic beat 16-year-old Queenslander Ashleigh Barty 6-4 in the first set, but the German was then forced to retire with a knee injury.

Spain earlier clinched a 2-1 victory over South Africa, winning the mixed doubles 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 10-8 after the two singles rubbers were split.

Kevin Anderson had given South Africa the lead by beating Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 before Annabel Medina Garrigues levelled the contest with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Chanelle Scheepers.

World No.21 Haas held a 6-1 lead over Tomic in the first-set tiebreak, but the 34-year-old's fluency deserted him when it mattered most as the Australian reeled off the next seven points.

Haas looked to have the rubber in the bag after taking the second set and edging out to a 5-3 lead in the third set.

But Tomic refused to throw in the towel, breaking back to even the scores before putting the heat on Haas as the German attempted to send the match into a deciding tiebreak.

Tomic blew his first two match points by sending his forehand long, but he didn't have to break a sweat on the third attempt, with a Haas double fault handing Tomic the win in 135 minutes.

"It was a very tough first set. It was my first set in a few months," Tomic said. "I don't know how I got out of that tiebreak.

"I've been training really hard and extremely well. I've been training well so hopefully it will be good preparation for the Australian Open."

Teenager Ashleigh Barty can win the tie for Australia if she can upset Andrea Petkovic in the women's singles.

Tomic, who reached a career-high ranking of 27 in June, has since slid to 52nd after a poor end to the year in which he made first-round exits at his final three tournaments.

But after embarking on a seven-week training campaign, Tomic insisted he was fresh, hungry, and ready to make amends for his list of on and off-court controversies in 2012.

The early results appear good, with Tomic's willingness to dig in and fight his way out of the first-set tiebreak particularly heartening.

And then when Tomic appeared gone in the third set, he again displayed Hewitt-esque fighting spirit to turn the match his way.

AAP

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