Wilander wins but Sweden go out

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The Independent Online
Mats Wilander, the semi-retired former world No1, pulled off a surprise victory over Andrei Medvedev, but it did not prevent Sweden from being beaten by Ukraine in the first round of the Hopman Cup mixed team tournament in Perth yesterday.

With his country leading 1-0 after the women's singles, Medvedev looked set to wrap up the match as he swept into a one-set and 2-0 lead against the player he idolised as a youngster.

Wilander, who has made only fleeting appearances on the ATP Tour over the last two years, appeared to have accepted the inevitable and looked as surprised as anyone when Medvedev allowed him 10 of the next 12 games to trail 4-0 in the final set.

Wilander, using all the experience that helped him win seven Grand Slam titles, kept his nerve for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 success against a player ranked 111 places above his current position of 126.

In the deciding doubles rubber, Medvedev, still affected by the setback began tentatively, dropping his opening service game, but he recovered his composure and with his sister, Natalia, combined better than the unfamiliar Swedish pairing of Wilander andAsa Carlsson to win the match 6-2, 6-2.

Medvedev had a depressing 1994 with injuries and appears short of confidence going into this month's Australian Open in Melbourne.

"Physically I'm okay but mentally is the problem," he said. "The last three matches I lost last year I had match points in each. I feel a bit stiff when I have to play important points."

Also through to the quarter-finals are France, who sealed a close contest against the Netherlands when Jean-Philippe Fleurian and Julie Halard narrowly beat Brenda Schultz and Tom Nijssen in the deciding mixed doubles to secure a tie against third-seededSpain tomorrow.

Goran Ivanisevic, the world No 5 from Croatia and Wimbledon runner-up, could miss the Australian Open after suffering a knee injury during an exhibition match against Britain's Mark Petchey in Perth.

"It's too early to jump to conclusions, but it would be an understatement to say that Goran's Australian Open plans are under threat," Paul McNamee, who is the tournament director for both the Hopman Cup and the Australian Open, said yesterday.