France will meet the USA in Saturday night’s final of Mastercard Hopman Cup after it won a deciding FAST4 mixed doubles match to claim the tie against top seed Switzerland at Perth Arena.
Because of results earlier in the week, the tie had developed into a semifinal for Pool A in the mixed team event, with the victor going on to the final.
The US team of Jack Sock and Coco Vandeweghe had already dominated Group B to earn a spot in the playoff and a chance of claiming a record seventh title.
After splitting the singles matches, France made light work of the mixed doubles.
Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic beat Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic 4-2 4-2 in 34 minutes.
Earlier, Federer sent down 11 aces in an impressive performance to beat Gasquet 6-1 6-4 and get Switzerland off to the perfect start.
But Mladenovic, ranked world No.42, then beat world No.43 Belinda Bencic 6-4 2-6 6-3 in the women’s singles clash to level the ledger.
Federer made lighter work of Gasquet, claiming victory in just 56 minutes.
He earned a break point against the world No.18 Frenchman in each of his first three service games.
He couldn’t convert the first, but did the second to take a 3-1 lead. He consolidated that break with a service game to love.
The Swiss champ needed three chances to break a second time and took a 5-1 advantage before closing out the opening set in 26 min.
Federer broke Gasquet’s serve again early in the second set to set up victory.
The former world No.1, returning after a six-month lay-off due to a knee injury, said he couldn’t be happier with how he feels.
“It’s the third match into the year so I am starting to feel the ball better and better and I am just moving around the court better, so I am really pleased,” he said.
“I don’t know if today was my best match, or yesterday, but you have to be able to handle different opponents and I am happy with where my level is at.
“I was uncertain (coming into the week); I didn’t know how it was going to go.
“I am very pleased that it is already going so well.”