Serena Williams sips espresso coffee on the court, then rallies to win in Austrilia at the Hopman Cup Tournament

Serena Williams failed to win a game in the first set before rallying to defeat Flavia Pennetta in three sets at the Hopman Cup. (Tony Ashby/Getty Images)

Story by AP

Lethargic and jet-lagged, Serena Williams decided a coffee might perk her up after she lost her first set 6-0 at the Hopman Cup.

It did the trick.

Williams recovered to beat Flavia Pennetta 0-6, 6-3, 6-0 on a sweltering day in Perth, John Isner followed up with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over Fabio Fognini and the American pair combined to win the doubles for a 3-0 win over Italy in Group A on Monday in the international mixed team competition.

The top-ranked Williams laughed loudly as she checked with the chair umpire and then with the tournament referee about the coffee before a ball girl served her the brew on court.

"I was just feeling it, so I just had to get some coffee into me," Williams said. "I just asked them to get me a shot of espresso -- I asked them if it was legal, because I've never done it before. I needed to wake up."

Andy Murray had two wins in Britain's 2-1 victory over France in Group B, beating Benoit Paire 6-2, 7-5 and then combining with Heather Watson to win the deciding mixed doubles 6-4, 2-6, 10-8. Alize Cornet beat Watson 6-2, 6-2 in the women's singles to make help France level the match 1-1.

Williams, an 18-time major winner, said the round-robin nature of the Hopman Cup took some pressure off her ahead of the Australian Open later this month, and she was also heeding some advice from her father, Richard.

"My dad says, 'Serena, you've done everything, enjoy yourself, I promise you'll play better," Williams was quoted as saying after the match. "So I'm like, 'OK.' I'm trying to relax a bit more and play how I know I can play."

The roof was closed to cool the Perth Arena, as temperatures in Perth topped 111 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, making it the city's fifth-hottest day.

Brisbane International: It was raining on the other side of the country in Brisbane, where two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka wasted two match points in the second set before Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic rallied to win 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.

Azarenka, the losing finalist in Brisbane last year, was unseeded after sliding to a year-end No. 32 ranking because of knee and foot injuries in 2014. Slipping further in the rankings this month, Azarenka struggled for consistency against Pliskova, who saved three break points in the last game before serving out the match in 3 hours, 13 minutes. The result means Azarenka is unlikely to be seeded at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 19.

American teenager Madison Keys had a 7-5, 6-2 first-round win over fourth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia earlier Monday, breaking the 2014 Australian Open finalist's serve three times in a second set that was briefly interrupted by rain at the semi-enclosed arena.

Third-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany beat Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 6-3, and Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 6-2.

On the men's side at the Brisbane International, Australians ousted two seeded French players, with James Duckworth beating No. 6 Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-2 and Thanasi Kokkinakis beating No. 8 Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-3.

ASB Classic: In Auckland, New Zealand, 31-year-old Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia had an upset 6-3, 6-2 win over second-seeded Sara Errani of Italy.

Ana Konjuh of Croatia ousted eighth-seeded Mona Barthel of Germany 6-2, 6-1; 18-year-old American wild card Taylor Townsend beat former champion and three-time Auckland finalist Yanina Wickmayer 7-5, 3-6, 6-0; and sixth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain 6-3, 6-1.


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