Hopman Cup Group B Preview: Russia vs USA

Hopman Cup Group B Preview: Russia vs USA

USA, led by two top-10 players, will look to have a flying start into their 2018 Hopman Cup campaign but faces some tough competition from rivals Russia.

don-han
Don Han

Opening the 2018 Mastercard Hopman Cup would be the highly-anticipated encounter between the powerhouse USA and the dark horse Russia. This tie will be played in the Perth Arena, starting at 10 am local time. Coming into the match, USA is definitely the huge favorite to triumph especially with having two top-10 players representing them, while Russia looks to cause the upset in their opening match.

Vandeweghe looks to give USA the perfect start

Coco Vandeweghe will play the first match of this tie and will go up against world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The American is coming off a career-best year which saw her reach two Grand Slam semifinals in addition to a quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon while also cracking the top-10 for the first time. However, she is going up against a tricky opponent in Pavlyuchenkova, who is a consistent figure inside the top-20 and is making her debut in Perth.

Coco Vandeweghe celebrates reaching the semifinals at the US Open | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America
Coco Vandeweghe celebrates reaching the semifinals at the US Open | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America

Vandeweghe leads their head-to-head 2-1, defeating the Russian on both their hard-court meetings. The world number 10 easily prevailed 6-2, 6-3 in their one-sided encounter at the Bank of the West Classic, and she is the favorite in this match-up once more.

Match Prediction: Vandeweghe d. Pavlyuchenkova in three sets

Sock goes up against talented rising star

One of the most talked-about rising stars of men’s tennis, Karen Khachanov will look to help Russia gain a vital point against world number eight Jack Sock. The Russian was part of the line-up at the #NextGen ATP Finals, while also reaching six quarterfinals throughout the year despite a late-season slump which saw him win just one of eight matches. Whereas, it was the total opposite for Sock, who won the Paris Masters while also reaching the semifinals at the ATP World Tour Finals on his debut.

Jack Sock had an incredible rise in the rankings towards the end of 2017, cracking the top-10 and making his debut in London | Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe
Jack Sock had an incredible rise in the rankings towards the end of 2017, cracking the top-10 and making his debut in London | Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe

The pair has only met once in the past — a straightforward 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win for Sock at the 2017 Australian Open. Once again, the American is the favorite coming into this encounter but the dangerous Russian could never be underestimated.

Match Prediction: Sock d. Khachanov in straight sets

Mixed Doubles: Americans have the advantage

There is definitely a reason why USA is the huge favorite to hoist the trophy for the first time since 2011. Other than being top-10 players, Sock and Vandeweghe have also achieved decent success in the doubles field, with Sock being a former Grand Slam champion while Vandeweghe reached the last four in a Major tournament in the past.

Sock and Vandeweghe at the 2017 Hopman Cup earlier this year | Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images AsiaPac
Sock and Vandeweghe at the 2017 Hopman Cup earlier this year | Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images AsiaPac

Meanwhile, for the Russian team, they would have to get used to the Fast4 format as quickly as possible, since Sock and Vandeweghe have partnered up to represent their country in 2017 as well. Pavlyuchenkova has been a former top-25 player in doubles while Khachanov hasn’t had much experience in doubles. Hence, they would be the underdogs in this clash.

Match Prediction: Sock/Vandeweghe d. Khachanov/Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets

Tie Prediction: USA d. Russia 3-0

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