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Isner out of Hopman Cup with knee injury

1/3/2013 6:58:00 AM

Edits, updates with Australia winning.

PERTH, Australia (AP) - John Isner withdrew from the Hopman Cup on Thursday with a right knee injury, ending the American team's chances of reaching the final of the eight-country tournament and handing a championship berth to Spain.

Isner, who still hopes to compete at the Australian Open beginning Jan. 14, played with tape on his knee when he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France on Tuesday and later said he was suffering from ``a little tendinitis.'' He also lost to South African Kevin Anderson in his opening match on Sunday.

The highest-ranked American at No. 14, Isner said he still plans to play in next week's Sydney International and the Australian Open.

``My plan now is just to treat it as best I can and see how it reacts,'' Isner said. ``I do know I've always been a fast healer when I've had little injuries pop up here and there, so I'm confident I'm going to be fine for the Australian Open.

``It's not a great way to start the year but I'd rather it happen this week than in two weeks.''

Later Thursday, Bernard Tomic followed up his victory over No. 1 Novak Djokovic by beating Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-5 and Ashleigh Barty defeated Francesca Schiavone 6-0, 6-3 to help Australia beat Italy.

Australia and Serbia, which plays Germany on Friday, are bidding to meet Spain in Saturday's final.

Spain and the United States were 2-0 in round-robin play heading into Thursday's match, but Spain was awarded a walkover after Isner's injury.

Isner was replaced by his Australian hitting partner, Thanasi Kokkinakis, for an exhibition singles match against Fernando Verdasco. The Spaniard won 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Venus Williams also remained undefeated in her three singles matches as she recovered from a slow start to beat Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-4.

After dropping the opening game on a double-fault, Williams was treated for a blister on her left foot and also taped her right wrist. She then broke to level the set at 2-2 and again at love to lead 5-3.

Williams broke the Spaniard's serve two more times in the second set to earn a comfortable victory.

``I got to play a lot and pull a lot out of myself and I feel that with every match my serve got better,'' Williams said. ``This is the best day I've returned, my consistency (is good),'' Williams said. ``That's what I wanted.''

She said her blisters were not a problem after they were treated.

``Once I got that taken care of I was able to run a lot better,'' she said. ``And once I got my wrist wrapped, that was fine, too.''