Roger Federer came out on top in his highly anticipated match-up with Serena Williams to help Switzerland clinch their Mastercard Hopman Cup tie against USA 2-1.
Federer gave Switzerland a 1-0 lead with a 6-4 6-1 win over Frances Tiafoe.
Williams then overcame a case of the first-set wobbles to post a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over Belinda Bencic, levelling the tie.
The mixed doubles clash was always going to steal the spotlight given it was the first time Federer had faced off against Williams in a competitive match.
But the fact it would also decide the tie winner added extra intrigue.
The USA, who lost to Greece in their opening tie, needed to beat Switzerland to keep their title hopes alive.
But it was Switzerland who came out on top, winning 4-2 4-3 (5-3) in 46 minutes.
— Hopman Cup (@hopmancup) January 1, 2019
Switzerland, who have won both of their ties, will guarantee themselves a spot in the final with victory over Greece on Thursday night.
But even a 2-1 loss might be enough for them to sneak through.
Williams enjoyed a strong opening service game in the mixed doubles, with two of her serves proving too difficult to handle for Federer.
But the class of Federer shone through during the quick-fire rallies, with Bencic unleashing some nice winners as well.
Federer copped a ball to the face from Tiafoe during the match, but quickly laughed it off.
Williams grabbed at her right shoulder several times during the match, but was able to finish off the contest.
Earlier in the night, Williams raced out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set of her singles match, but Bencic won six of the next seven games to put her 37-year-old opponent on the back foot.
But Williams lifted in the big moments, breaking Bencic in the final game of the second set to level the scores, before powering to victory in the third.
“It’s definitely a relief. She played really well,” Williams said after the match.
“I knew I could play better, so that was always something that was in my mind.”
Federer was at his clinical best in his singles match.
From 4-4 in the first set, Federer won the next seven games to set up the easy win.
The second set took just 22 minutes as Tiafoe’s game imploded, with the world No.39 also struggling to maintain a high intensity.
Federer felt he handled Tiafoe’s power game well.
And the 20-time Grand Slam champoin, who will attempt to win a third straight Australian Open title later this month, was satisfied with where his form and fitness is at.
“I think it’s just now about maintaining, making sure I stay healthy, stay fit and inspired out there, come up with good solutions and take the right decisions at the right time,” Federer said.
“That is the hard part in tennis – to keep that up.”