Great Britain suffered their first defeat of the Hopman Cup after going down 2-1 to Poland in Perth, Australia, yesterday.
Andy Murray and Heather Watson were successful in their first match against France on Monday, but Watson lost to Agnieszka Radwanska and, although Murray’s win over Jerzy Janowicz levelled the tie, the Poles won the doubles.
In their singles encounter, Watson broke Radwanska in the opening game but the world No 5 broke straight back and then won against the serve again in the fourth to move 3-1 up.
Watson got back into the flow of the match but could not find another break as she surrendered the first set and then lost serve in the opener to the second.
Again, the 22-year-old broke back but that would be the last game she won as Radwanska eased to a 6-3, 6-1 victory to put the Poles ahead.
Murray also lost his opening service game as Janowicz moved into a 2-0 lead and it looked as if both Brits were set to slip up in their singles. But the Scot then reeled off nine games in a row to take control and eventually closed out a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
Murray could not take that momentum into the doubles, though, as he and Watson went down 6-4, 6-4 to Radwanska and Janowicz.
In New Zealand, Venus Williams powered her way into the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland with her second straight-sets victory in two days.
The former world No 1 only dropped one game when she beat Jana Cepelova yesterday and, although Kurumi Nara put up more of a fight, the Japanese star was still put to the sword 6-4, 6-1.
Williams’ reward in the last eight is a meeting with Elena Vesnina, who leads their head-to-head series 2-1. The Russian world No 64 cruised past Croatian Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-1 to set up the clash.
Top seed Caroline Wozniacki did not have it all her own way against Taylor Townsend and had to see off a late surge by the American wild card to win 6-1, 7-6 (6/4).
The Danish world No 8 needed just 23 minutes to wrap up the opening set and seemed to be on her way to another routine win. But, instead of racing through the second set in similar fashion, she had to come back from 2-5 down to force a tie-break and it took her just short of 90 minutes to eke out the victory.
She will face Julia Goerges in the next round after the German saw off Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 7-5.
Seventh seed Coco Vandeweghe came through the day’s toughest test in New Zealand, edging Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 in a marathon duel that took two hours and 17 minutes. There were also wins for American Lauren Davis, the Czech Republic’s Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova and Poland’s Urszula Radwanska.
In China, top-seed Simona Halep eased into the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen Open with a straightforward 6-2, 6-2 victory over Natalia Vikhlyantseva.