Pavlasek rises to give Czechs tie win

Bridget Lacy
Pavlasek rises to give Czechs tie win

Adam Pavlasek has caused a major boilover on day three of the Hopman Cup, upsetting top-20 player Fabio Fognini to put the Czech Republic 2-0 up in their tie against Italy today.

Lucie Safarova put the Czechs 1-0 up after her 7-5 6-3 victory over Flavia Pennetta.

The Czechs were handed a 3-0 clean sweep when Fognini pulled out of the mixed doubles after feeling the effects of the heat during his singles loss.

Young Australian Ben Mitchell filled in for Fognini, teaming with Pennetta in a dead rubber, which the Czech pair ultimately won 8-6 in a pro set.

It is understood Fognini will be available for Italy's third tie against Canada on Thursday.

Fognini was expected to take advantage of his superior experience and world ranking to level and force a live mixed doubles.

However, little-known Pavlasek claimed the biggest win of his career to record a 3-6 7-5 6-1 win to take the tie for the Czechs.

It was world No.239 Pavlasek who first had world No.19 Fognini in trouble on serve, when the 20-year-old Czech had a break point in the third game of the match.

But after failing to take advantage of the opening, Fognini turned the tables on him a few games later to go 5-2 ahead.

Pavlasek saved set points on his own serve to force his 27-year-old opponent to serve it out.

Fognini struggled, but eventually served it out in 35 minutes.

Pavlasek lifted his first serve percentage from 30 per cent to 68 in the second to get right back into the game.

It went on serve until Pavlasek broke Fognini at 6-5 to claim the set, with a double fault ultimately costing the Italian on set point.

Fognini then imploded in the third set to almost gift Pavlasek his first victory over a top-20 player.

The Czech broke Fognini twice on the way to a 6-1 thrashing in the decider.

Safarova continued her hot Hopman Cup form with an impressive straight sets victory over veteran Flavia Pennetta.

It is the second match in a row Safarova has beaten an opponent higher in the world rankings, with the world
No.15’s clean hitting too good for world No.12 Pennetta’s.

Both women produced high-quality tennis in an evenly-matched opening set, but it was Pennetta who took the edge to go 3-1 up after breaking her opponent’s serve in the fourth game.

But fresh from beating a top-10 player on Sunday, Canada's Eugenie Bouchard, Safarova responded to break straight back and then level the match at 3-3.

It was an arm wrestle from there as the pair appeared set for a tie-breaker until the Czech left-hander broke again at 5-5 and then served it out to take the first set in 45 minutes.

Safarova looked set to steamroll her higher-ranked opponent when she broke her twice within the opening three games to skip out a 3-0 lead, but the Italian showed her fighting qualities to break back twice and consolidate to even it up at 3-3.

But Safarova would not be denied, breaking Pennetta again to take back the lead and then stormed away to take the next two games and the match.