A relieved Belinda Bencic fired Team Switzerland into the Mastercard Hopman Cup 2018 final with an enthralling 7-6(6) 6-4 triumph over world No.10 CoCo Vandeweghe.
“I’m so happy, this feels amazing,” said an elated Bencic, having posted a 18th successive singles win.
A blistering start sent Bencic 4-1 into the ascendancy, but 2017 Australian Open semifinalist Vandeweghe stormed back with four games in a row en route to a top-level tiebreak.
One set point was dismissed, but Bencic would not be denied at 7-6, as she rotated to unleash a ferocious inside-out forehand winner.
The Swiss once again chalked up 4-1 on the scoreboard in the second set and Vandeweghe responded in typical fashion. At 4-3, the American appeared poised to even the set, but a last-ditch backhand winner winner down line prompted Bencic to roar in celebration and that was the catalyst to close out a memorable win for the former world No.7.
The Swiss duo will tackle either one of Germany, Belgium or Australia to lift the trophy on Saturday afternoon at Perth Arena, following Roger Federer’s straight-sets victory against Jack Sock.
“Last year we were so close to getting into the final, I’m so relieved now,” added Bencic. “We’ve made it after Roger won a great first point for us and I’m so glad I could close it out.
“Playing for your country is very special, whether it’s Fed Cup or Hopman Cup. I’m proud when I represent Switzerland and I hope we can do well in the final too.”
Bencic and Federer then maintained a 100 per cent mixed doubles record this tournament with an entertaining 4-3(3) 4-2 win against Team USA.
“Yeah we played some crazy tennis there,” said Federer. “In practice you’re always looking to improve something, or to play well in matches, but this was all about fun. We really enjoyed it, some fun pictures and videos are going to come out of this match.”
Their final opponents are yet to be decided, but Federer is excited to surge into contention for the title. “Any of the teams will be tough. That group was very equal and we’ll definitely follow the action and see who we will face,” stated the world No.2. “We were so disappointed to lose to France last year, so we’re looking forward to Saturday.”
Meanwhile Team USA were delighted with their Australian Open preparations in Perth.
“It’s been an amazing week,” added Sock. “It’s my third year, second partnering CoCo. We’ve both got out-going personalities, so we really draw off the crowd, so it was a pleasure to play on this court once again. Tonight was incredible, but hopefully we can come back and go further next year”
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