John Isner inspired the United States to Hopman Cup glory on Saturday as they beat Belgium 2-1 to win the mixed team event for the sixth time.
The world number 19 crushed Ruben Bemelmans 6-3 6-4 to level the tie after Bethanie Mattek-Sands had been beaten 7-6 6-3 by former world number one Justine Henin in the opening match.
Isner then joined forces with Mattek-Sands to win the deciding mixed doubles 6-1 6-3 to give the United States a well-deserved victory.
“This has been a great, great week,” Isner said. “I’d like to thank Bethanie, her back’s got to be hurting because she’s been carrying me all week.”
The winners were each awarded a gold and diamond-encrusted tennis ball as their prize, much to the delight of Mattek-Sands.
“I actually saw these when I first got here and I thought they were the best trophy in tennis,” she said. “It’s been an amazing week.”
Belgium were a late replacement in the final for Serbia, who had to pull out after Ana Ivanovic suffered an injury.
From 1-1 in the first set, Henin and world number 58 Mattek-Sands shared eight consecutive service breaks but both managed to hold to force a tiebreak.
Mattek-Sands had been aggressive throughout and her attacking tennis paid off when she held two set points 6-4, only for Henin to find her game just in time to take it 8-6.
The American then broke in the first game of the second set on her way to a 3-1 lead but Henin, in her first event back after six months out with a fractured elbow, then hit top gear and won 18 of the last 19 points to seal victory.
“When I heard I had to play the final I was really mentally getting ready to go to Melbourne,” Henin said.
“It took me until 3-1 down in the second set to start playing my game but in the last five games I really found my level and it was good to finish with a win.
“But they were the better team today and I think the best team of the week won,” Henin said. “John was just too big but it’s been great preparation for the Australian Open.”
Isner never gave Bemelmans a chance in the men’s singles, serving 13 aces as he brushed aside the young Belgian to level the tie.
The Americans were dominated the mixed doubles to win the title.
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