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Mladenovic, Gasquet give France second Hopman Cup title

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PERTH, Australia — Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet clinched France’s second Hopman Cup title, beating Americans CoCo Vandeweghe and Jack Sock 4-1, 4-3 in the deciding mixed doubles match in the tournament final on Saturday.

Earlier, Vandeweghe beat Mladenovic 6-4, 7-5 after Gasquet saved a match point in the third-set tiebreaker and held on for a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (6) win over Sock to give France the early lead in the exhibition tournament.

The mixed doubles was played under the Fast4 format of four-game sets, no deuces and a five-point tiebreaker when sets are tied at 3. France shut out the American team in the second-set tiebreaker 5-0.

The French pair had defeated Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the deciding mixed doubles on Friday night to advance to the final.

The U.S. has won the Hopman Cup a record six times in the tournament’s 29-year history.

“I was just trying to keep the team alive, that’s the whole concept out here,” Vandeweghe said after saving break points in two consecutive service games in the second set to send the final to the mixed doubles decider.

Sock broke Gasquet’s service in the 11th game of the deciding set of the opening men’s singles, helped by Gasquet’s double-fault on break point. But Gasquet came back to break Sock in the next game and send it to a tiebreaker.

Gasquet said he didn’t panic when he faced a match point.

“I tried to focus on myself and be tough mentally,” Gasquet said. “It’s very difficult. I know him very well. He’s a great friend of mine. But on the court, it doesn’t count.”

The men’s match lasted 2 1/2 hours.

“I let it slip away at the end,” Sock said. “I was holding fairly comfortably for a while. So when I got the break I felt pretty good about it. And then later when I had the match point, I played way too tentatively.”

Organizers announced earlier Saturday that the tournament would remain in the Western Australian state capital for at least the next five years. The state government extended its contract with the International Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia to host the exhibition event at Perth Arena until at least 2022.

Djokovic wins World Sportsman of the Year at Laureus World Sports Awards

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MONACO  — Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn and the France national soccer team were among the winners at the Laureus World Sports Awards, with Woods claiming the Comeback Award 19 years after he was first recognized.

Djokovic matched Usain Bolt’s record by being named World Sportsman of the Year for the fourth time after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He also earned the honor in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Woods, who won the inaugural World Sportsman of the Year award in 2000, won the Tour Championship in September for his 80th PGA Tour title and his first since August 2013.

Vonn, who retired during the recent Alpine skiing world championships , took home the Spirit of Sport Award, which is given to an athlete for relentless dedication to his or her career, and France was honored for winning the World Cup in July.

Simone Biles was named World Sportswoman of the Year for winning four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the gymnastics world championships. Naomi Osaka won the Breakthrough Award for winning the U.S. Open and Chloe Kim was named the World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

The awards were given in recognition of outstanding sports performance in 2018.

Wawrinka loses to Monfils in first final since knee surgeries

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka’s rebuilt knee couldn’t quite carry him to the title in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Wawrinka lost his first final since his comeback a year ago from left knee surgeries, succumbing 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to Gael Monfils of France at the ABN AMRO World Tournament.

It was the Frenchman’s eighth career title.

“I tried a couple of times here. I lost the final in 2016,” Monfils told Dutch national broadcaster NOS courtside. He said it was special to win a tournament that his idol, Arthur Ashe, also won. Ashe won back-to-back titles in Rotterdam in 1975 and ’76.

Unseeded Wawrinka reached the final by beating top-seeded Kei Nishikori in three sets on Saturday.

But the Swiss finally ran out of steam in the final set as Monfils stepped up his game.

“In the third set I was a little bit more aggressive and I go a bit more for my shots, I served bigger and that helped me a lot,” Monfils said.

Wawrinka was going for his 17th career title and second in Rotterdam, after winning in 2015.

It was his first final since the 2017 French Open, where he previously met Monfils in the fourth round.

Monfils also needed three sets to overcome fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, but outlasted Wawrinka in a match that took 1 hour, 44 minutes.

After they shared the first two sets, Monfils was more consistent than Wawrinka in the decisive third.

Already trailing 4-2, Wawrinka hit three unforced errors to lose the seventh game and allow Monfils to serve out the match.