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Swiss precision lands third Hopman Cup title

6 January 2018, by Alex Sharp

Switzerland are Mastercard Hopman Cup champions for the third time after Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic combined to topple Team Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber 4-3(3) 4-2.

Nineteen-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who lifted the trophy alongside Martina Hingis back in 2001, won all four of his singles contests, whilst a rejuvenated Bencic helped maintain an unbeaten Swiss record in the mixed doubles.

“After all these years I can’t believe I’m here again,” noted Federer. “It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve lost count of the years, I’m thrilled to win the Hopman Cup again with Belinda, it’s been a pleasure to partner you this week, well done.”

Earlier, Roger Federer outplayed Sascha Zverev 6-7(4) 6-0 6-2 to begin an enthralling final. The contest was levelled by Angelique Kerber defeating Bencic 6-4 6-1.

“I want to congratulate Team Germany for making the final,” said Bencic having lifted the trophy. “You played a great tournament and Angie was just too strong for me today. I’m so glad we made it in the mixed this time.

“Thanks to Roger for playing with me. It really is a dream come true. I couldn’t wish for a better partner,” she added with a beaming smile. “I’ll never forget this week, it’s been unbelievable.”

Back on court in the mixed doubles Federer missed a volley on top of the net as a deciding point was chalked up on Bencic’s serve, but the Swiss escaped when Kerber netted an angled forehand.

It was a high-quality quartet and this time Germany had to stave off a deciding point. Zverev’s sharp reactions secured the point as the set edged into a tiebreak.

From 2-0 to the Germans, Switzerland reeled off four points in a row, including a blistering Bencic backhand return winner down the line and a flicked Federer volley winner from up high. The Swiss were half way to the trophy.

Zverev smirked in disbelief when he rocketed a backhand at Bencic and the Swiss shut her eyes, but still managed to deflect the ball back in from the wobbling frame.

However, Bencic’s returning was particularly effective and enables Federer to pick off volleys at the net. The 20-year-old deflected a bullet backhand return winner, ahead of a trademark backhand winner from Federer to spark the pivotal break.

Federer took to the baseline, held to love with an ace and it was simply Swiss bliss at Perth Arena.

Despite the narrow defeat, Team Germany were in high spirits following a strong showing to ignite their 2018 and they would welcome a return to Perth next season.

“Firstly Sascha, thank you for playing with me. We had a great week on and off the court,” said Kerber at the trophy presentation.

“It’s not the result we wished, but congrats to Belinda and Roger. You are a great team and really deserve to win the title.”

Zverev hopes that Federer can do him a favour in the future: “Once again Switzerland takes it all,” joked the 20-year-old. “We’ve seen this so many times, Roger relax a little bit, we want to win something as well. It makes us young guys look bad.”

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