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Canada stays alive at Hopman Cup

By Chris Pike
2 January 2014 06:02PM EST

ANOTHER day and another injury ruined Italy's Hopman Cup hopes while keeping Canada's slim hopes of making Saturday's final alive at the Perth Arena.

Both Italy's Flavia Pennetta and Andreas Seppi and Canada's Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic entered Thursday's day session at the Hopman Cup needing a convincing win to keep their hopes of making Saturday's final alive.

And that's exactly what the Canadian duo got when handed the three-nil victory when Pennetta was forced to retire hurt in her women's singles match with Bouchard when trailing 4-0 in the first set.

Raonic then had little trouble beating Seppi in the men's singles 6-2, 6-4 and then Pennetta was unable to take her place in the mixed doubles because of her wrist injury with Australian Bojana Bobusic partnering Seppi as the Canadians comfortably won 6-1, 6-4.

The result means that Canada can still qualify for the final in an attempt to win the Hopman Cup for the first time but that still depends on the Thursday night Poland-Australia tie.

Australia's Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic are well and truly out of contention for the final having lost to both Canada and Italy, but Poland remains in the box seat.

Australia will need to hammer Poland to enable Canada to make the final.

Poland entered the tournament as the top-seeds but that was when world No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska was to be partnered by rising star Jerzy Janowicz.

The Poles were gifted a win over Italy on Saturday when Seppi was forced to withdraw through illness and then world No. 288 Grzegorz Panfil scored the upset of the tournament with the win of his career beating Canada's Raonic to put his nation in prime position for Saturday's final.

The wrist injury to Pennetta on Thursday continues a horror run at this year's Hopman Cup.

It began before the tournament even got underway with two of the top male drawcards Janowicz and Spain's Tommy Robredo withdrawing through injury.

Then on the opening day of the Hopman Cup, Seppi took ill, Tomic failed to compete in Australia's loss to Canada on Saturday night and then on Sunday, Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues was also hobbled in her clash with the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.

There were then two standout women's singles matches on Monday and Tuesday nights with Kvitova beating France's Alize Cornet 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 and then Radwanska downing Bouchard 6-3, 7-6, 6-2.

The injury curse looked to be over for this year's Hopman Cup until Thursday when Pennetta's withdrawal ended the competition between Italy and Canada with tournament organisers now desperate for a strong showing from Stosur and Tomic for Australia in their final appearance.

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