Roger Federer hit a road bump on his comeback trail from injury, as German teen Alexander Zverev claimed a three-sets win at Mastercard Hopman Cup.
The 17-time Grand Slam title winner went down 7-6 (1) 6-7 (4) 7-6 (4) in 150 minutes as the Swiss snatched a 1-0 lead in their tie.
That Federer lost to the 19 year-old, ranked world No. 24, wasn’t a complete surprise; he’s done that before.
The 19-year-old, ranked world No. 24, said that he knew if he remained focused, a chance would come his way against the Swiss great who is coming off a six-month lay-off – having been sidelined since Wimbledon with knee and back injuries.
“Against Roger you know you have to play every single point or you have no chance,” Zverev said.
“You have to play it at a very high level otherwise he will beat you quite easily.
“It has always been like that and always will be until he stops playing.”
There wasn’t much between the two players, but Zverev, who is 16 years younger than Federer, just wouldn’t go away; and with his first serves consistently clocking over 200km/h he showed why he’s attracting so much world attention.
The win took his record over Federer to 2-1 having beaten the 35-year-old in Halle, in Germany before Wimbledon last year.
But Zverev wasn’t the only teenager to make a statement win on Perth Arena.
Under pressure to keep Switzerland in the tie, 19-year-old Belinda Bencic showcased both her power and composure as she outclassed Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-4 in 77 minutes.
That win levelled the tie at 1-1, Switzerland going on to win against Germany with a 4-1 4-1 win in the FAST4 mixed doubles.
A place in Saturday’s final is now at stake for Federer and Bencic – the winner of the Switzerland and France tie on Friday night earns the opportunity to compete against USA on Saturday.