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Venus Williams Wows As US Move Toward Hopman Cup Finals Berth

Venus prevails in a thriller to move past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and France.

A resilient effort from Venus Williams helped the United States overcome a tiebreak with France to emerge as a finalist favourite at the Hopman Cup being played in Perth, Australia.

France looked capable of an upset when Tsonga got the better of John Isner in the men’s singles before Williams staged a comeback to defeat Mathilde Johansson after falling behind a set and 4-1.

In much of the same fashion as she defeated Chanelle Scheepers in her opener against Chanelle Scheepers and South Africa, Williams willed herself to a 3-6 7-5 6-4 victory.

Isner and Williams then combined to run out a marathon mixed doubles win, 6-7 (5) 6-2 10-8, in a match that finished shortly before midnight.

The seven-time grand slam champion has yet to capture an Australian Open, but recent form suggests she is in with a real chance.

"(After losing the first set) I was just thinking, 'Man, I've got to work on my game,'," Williams said.

"The Australian Open is coming up, so I didn't want to let my team down. I didn't want to see us have a loss."

The US need to beat Spain on Thursday to ensure a spot in the final. They will play the winner of tonight’s matchup between Australia and Novak Djokovic led Serbia.

Tsonga is currently working with Australian coach Roger Rasheed and looked good against Isner- an opponent he has historically struggled against. He will face another quality test ahead of this month’s Aussie Open- undefeated South African Kevin Anderson.

As news broke earlier this week that a stomach virus and not fully recovered knee injury will withhold Spaniard Rafael Nadal from the January Open, Tsonga’s chances of slipping into a maiden Grand Slam have increased dramatically. Defending champion Djokovic will of course provide a massive obstacle, but Tsonga will have every opportunity of making his first Grand Slam final since losing to Djokovic in the final of the 2008 Australian Open.

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Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.