News & Media

Swiss bliss: Federer and Bencic claim historic title

5 January 2019, by AAP

Roger Federer has won the Mastercard Hopman Cup for a record third time after Switzerland beat Germany in a winner-takes-all point on Saturday night.

Federer gave Switzerland a 1-0 lead in the tie with a 6-4 6-2 win over world No.4 Alexander Zverev on Saturday.

But Kerber levelled the tie with a 6-4 7-6 (6) win over Bencic in the women’s singles rubber.

Switzerland then came up trumps 4-0 1-4 4-3 (4) in the deciding mixed doubles that came down to the final point.

Under the short sets format, the match is decided by a winner-takes-all point if scores are locked at 4-4 in the third-set tiebreak.

Germany failed to convert a championship point before it reached that stage, and they again faltered when everything was on the line, with Zverev hitting the ball into the net to spark Switzerland’s celebrations.

Federer’s three Mastercard Hopman Cup titles is more than any other player.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion first won the Hopman Cup in 2001, when he teamed with Martina Hingis to beat the US.

The 37-year-old won his second crown alongside Bencic last year, beating Zverev and Kerber.

And it was the exact same script this year, with Federer winning his singles match in the final before helping clinch the deciding rubber in the mixed doubles.

“I’m very happy about these records, but I didn’t come here for that,” Federer said.

“What a thrill it was – not just the match point, but also the whole match and the whole week.

“It’s great fun. I’m happy, I’m proud to represent my country. It’s been a super pleasure teaming with Belinda.

Federer was simply unstoppable in his singles rubber, countering the power of Zverev with classy stroke play and unpredictable deftness.

Zverev unleashed a series of powerful serves, some of which exceeded 220 km/h.

But Federer snared the crucial break in the 10th game of the first set, before breaking the young German again early in the second set on the way to the 70-minute win.

Federer has beaten Frances Tiafoe, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Cameron Norrie, and Zverev in straight sets at the Hopman Cup, giving him an excellent preparation for his Australian Open title defence.

“I’m happy I’m feeling this good and playing as well as I am,” Federer said.

“It’s good to finish on a singles performance like this. I’m a bit surprised that the matches have gone as well as they have.”

The victory ensured Switzerland’s fourth Mastercard Hopman Cup title in total, the nation’s first trophy secured by Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere and Jakob Hlasek in 1992.

Federer and Bencic were the first pair in the event’s 31-year history to return to defend a title.