PERTH, Australia — The United States rallied past France 2-1 Tuesday, with John Isner and Venus Williams capturing the decisive mixed doubles to win a second straight series at the Hopman Cup.
France won the opening singles when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overwhelmed Isner 6-3, 6-2. Williams then tied it after trailing by a set and 4-1 to defeat Mathilde Johansson 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. The Americans won the mixed doubles 6-7 (5), 6-2 10-8 by taking six of the last seven points in the match tiebreaker.
The U.S., which defeated South Africa in its opening series, next plays Spain.
Williams played listlessly before recovering. After making the only break of the final set to lead 4-3 she faced two break points in the following game before holding for 5-3. She would not elaborate on her obvious discomfort.
"I'm OK, thank you; I'm OK," she said. "She hits the ball hard and low and I'm tall so it was hard to get down that low all the time. I have to give her a lot of credit for a tough match."
Tsonga gave up just seven points on serve and committed only four unforced errors against 21 from Isner to win easily.
"It's never easy against John usually, so I'm really happy with the way I played today," said Tsonga, who had lost three of his previous four matches against the American. "It's a really good start for 2013 and I hope I will have some more like this. I was a bit quicker on court than before so I think it's a good sign for the rest of the competition and for Melbourne."
The Australian Open begins in Melbourne on Jan. 14.
Isner's right knee was wrapped because of what he said was "a little tendinitis." He said he was not concerned at losing both his singles so far at the Hopman Cup.
"Normally, it takes me a while to get going," he said. "I'm not worried about it though. I remember three years ago when I first played this event I didn't play so well here but I won the next tournament.
"It certainly wasn't my best. I was missing shots I would have liked to have made. I'm not freaking out about it."
Today, Italy plays Germany and Australia faces Serbia.
At Doha, Qatar, top-seeded David Ferrer rallied to defeat German qualifier Dustin Brown 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round of the Qatar Open.
The fifth-ranked Spaniard struggled early against Brown's serve and net play. With the first set even at 5, Brown hit a drop volley and then broke Ferrer when the Spaniard hit a shot into the net. Brown closed out the set with a crosscourt volley winner.
Ferrer figured out Brown's serve and the German began making unforced errors. Ferrer broke Brown to go up 3-1 on the way to winning the second and easily won the final set.
Three seeded players were upset, including Jeremy Chardy at No. 5.
Chardy was beaten by German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-4, 6-4. Earlier, Lukas Rosol beat eighth-seeded Pablo Andujar of Spain, 6-2, 7-6 (2). Lukasz Kubot of Poland topped seventh-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain, 6-4, 6-2.
Fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia struggled, but rallied to beat Benjamin Becker of Germany 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1.
At Shenzen, China, top-seeded Li Na opened her Shenzhen Open campaign with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Mandy Minella of Luxembourg.
Li, ranked No. 7 in the world, broke Minella four times without facing a break point. Next up for the Chinese star, trying to win her first title on home soil since 2004, will be Julia Cohen of the United States in the second round.
It was a good day for Chinese. Sixth-seeded Peng Shuai, chasing her first WTA singles title, swept past Ayumi Morita of Japan for a seventh straight time, 6-1, 6-1, and Zhou Yi-miao, a lucky loser who made the draw when third-seeded Jelena Jankovic withdrew, defeated American qualifier Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-2.