France beat Spain, advance to Hopman Cup final

Updated: 05 January 2012 17:49 IST

France qualified for the Hopman Cup final when Richard Gasquet finished off a 6-2, 6-4 win over Fernando Verdasco on his fifth match point on Thursday to secure a 2-0 victory over Spain.

France beat Spain, advance to Hopman Cup final
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Perth:

France qualified for the Hopman Cup final when Richard Gasquet finished off a 6-2, 6-4 win over Fernando Verdasco on his fifth match point on Thursday to secure a 2-0 victory over Spain.

Marion Bartoli gave the French a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three match when she beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2, 6-4 in the women's singles and Gasquet ensured France would finish atop Group B when he fended off Verdasco in 78 minutes. The doubles match was scrapped.

France last reached the final of the international mixed team competition in 1998, when Mary Pierce and Cedric Pioline lost to Slovakia.

Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon finalist, has had two straight sets wins against Australia and Spain after losing a tight three-set opener to China's Li Na.

"I'm hoping this kind of level will take me far this year," she said. "I had a good season in 2011 but I want to get even better in 2012."

The Group A finalist will be determined Friday, with top-seeded Czech Republic - featuring women's No. 2 Petra Kvitova and men's No. 7 Tomas Berdych, favoured to advance. The Czech pair need to beat a Denmark team containing No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and Frederik Nielsen to progress.

Gasquet has won all three of his singles matches and said he's confident ahead of Saturday's final.

"It's very good for me to play these kind of guys. They are the best of the world so I am really happy to win," he said. "I am playing good, my serve is good and physically too and I'm in no pain, so I hope to win the final."

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