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Originally published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 4:31 AM

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Isner out of Hopman Cup with knee injury

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.

The Associated Press

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PERTH, Australia —

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.

After withdrawing on Thursday, however, Isner wasn't sure tendinitis was the problem.

"I don't necessarily know if it's tendinitis," he said. "It's sore and it's caused me a little bit of trouble and from that I'm not able to really load the right way and I'm not really going for my shots like I should."

Isner, the highest-ranked American at No. 14 in the world, 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. 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 (at the Australian Open)," he added.

Spain and the U.S. were each 2-0 in round-robin play heading into Thursday's deciding matchup. Spain was awarded a walkover and will advance to Saturday's final against an as-yet undetermined team from Group A.

Although Spain is already assured of advancing, Isner was replaced by his Australian hitting partner, Thanasi Kokkinakis, for his 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."

Later on Thursday, the Australian pair of Bernard Tomic and Ashleigh Barty played Italy's Andreas Seppi and Francesca Schiavone.

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