A masterful display from Roger Federer has provided Switzerland with a 1-0 lead over Germany in the Mastercard Hopman Cup final, with the Swiss a 6-4 6-2 winner over Alexander Zverev.
Federer dropped just two points on his serve in the 33-minute first set and was able to increasingly pressure the German in the key moments.
Zverev had started with a solid serving display of his own, amassing seven aces and 10 unforced errors in the opening stanza.
But there were also 10 errors and three double-faults that undermined his advantage; Zverev saved a breakpoint in the eight game of the first set but couldn’t manage it two games later.
While Zverev pushed the Swiss star harder early in the second set, Federer easily withstood the challenge.
With his artistic flair at his finest, he gained a break of serve with a breathtaking backhand winner that best symbolised his standard.
Seizing momentum as he claimed five games consecutively in that period, Federer was in control from start to finish in his 70-minute progression.
“It was a good match for me, no doubt about it,” said the 37-year-old.
“I think I served really well. Conditions are really quick, so I think when you string together a nice serve and volley game like I did today it’s always going to be tough for any opponent.”
Federer’s 24 winners far outnumbered his 16 unforced errors and he hit nine aces to just one double fault.
Zverev, on the other hand, had 23 errors against 21 winners, his nine aces undermined by four double faults.
They were pleasing numbers given that Zverev was the straight-sets winner of their least encounter, in the ATP Finals in London.
“It seems to be really working out well for me,” said the Swiss. “I’m just happy I’m feeling good and playing as well as I am.”
Victory sees Federer as the winner of 22 straight matches in Australia, taking in perfect runs at the past two Mastercard Hopman Cup appearances, and two Australian Open titles.
In Australia, @rogerfederer has now won 22 singles matches in a row.
— Hopman Cup (@hopmancup) January 5, 2019
And while that number seemed to surprise the Swiss, he isn’t surprised to compete so well here.
“(I’m) really enjoying myself. I think the people here in Perth and in Australia know how much this place means to me so it’s a great thrill,” he commented, noting the advantage it provides as Belinda Bencic takes on Angelique Kerber in the women’s singles.
“It puts us in a good position with Belinda playing now, which is wonderful.”