Federer's record 3rd Hopman Cup

Switzerland's Roger Federer and his mixed doubles partner Belinda Bencic with the Hopman Cup, after defeating Germany's Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber in yesterday's final.
Switzerland's Roger Federer and his mixed doubles partner Belinda Bencic with the Hopman Cup, after defeating Germany's Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber in yesterday's final.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PERTH • Roger Federer has become the most successful player in Hopman Cup history, after leading Switzerland to a 2-1 win in an enthralling final of the mixed teams tournament in Perth yesterday.

In what is likely the final edition of the tournament, the best was saved for last as Federer became the first player to win three Hopman Cups, teaming with Belinda Bencic for the duo's second consecutive title.

For the second year in a row, the Swiss beat the German pairing of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber by claiming a deciding mixed doubles match.

It was Switzerland's fourth title overall, behind only the United States with six. Federer, 37, first won the Hopman Cup back in 2001 when he teamed with Martina Hingis.

He gave the Swiss the early ascendancy with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Zverev, before Kerber squared the tie by beating a dogged Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) to set up the mixed-doubles decider.

Federer was a dominant figure in the doubles match as the Swiss claimed the abbreviated format 4-0, 1-4, 4-3 (5-4) to clinch the title.

In the men's singles, Federer bounced back from a November loss to Zverev in London to beat the big-serving German and make it a clean sweep of his singles matches in Perth for the second year running, less than two weeks before he defends his Australian Open title.

"I am happy I was able to maintain the good, high quality tennis I showed all week," he said.

"It is good to finish on a singles performance like this, I was able to come up with some good serve and volley and it all worked out today."

World No. 2 Kerber appeared set for an easy win in her singles match against Bencic, taking the first set. But the Swiss never gave up and forced a tie-break in the second.

Kerber praised Bencic's tenacity, saying she was always a determined opponent.

"She was fighting until the last one (point)," the German said.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic suffered a shock Qatar Open semi-final loss to Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4. It was the Serb's first defeat of the season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 06, 2019, with the headline 'Federer's record 3rd Hopman Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe