Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic made a strong start for Switzerland at the 30th Hopman Cup, beating Japanese pair of Yuichi Sugita and Naomi Osaka by 3-0 on an opening day at the Perth Arena. Federer kicked off the tie with a 6-4 6-3 triumph over Yuichi Sugita and Belinda Bencic added the second point for the Swiss team, beating her coeval Naomi Osaka by 7-5 6-3.
In the mixed doubles match, Japanese pair won the opening set by 4-2 before Swiss stars took control, clinching the second set by 4-1 to force a decider. The final set saw the closest fight and Swiss pair won it in the tie break to sweep the tie by 3-0 and make the perfect start of the campaign.
On Tuesday, Roger and Belinda will face Russia while Japan has to play against the USA. Belinda needed just over an hour and a half to beat Naomi, saving 5 out of 7 break points and stealing rival's serve 4 times. Both players had a lot of chances on the return but it was Bencic who played better in the most important moments to earn straight sets triumph.
As usual, we saw a lot of booming winners from Osaka but she also made too many errors, unable to control her groundstrokes and put Bencic under more pressure. Swiss struggled with injuries but she finished the season with 3 straight ITF titles, improving her ranking and finding the form in the recent months that pushed her inside the Top 100 again.
Today she wasn't at her best but it was enough to bring the match home in straight sets and clinch the overall win for Switzerland before the mixed doubles clash. The match started with back-to-back breaks and it was Bencic who saved 3 more break points in games 5 and 7 to stay in contention, and she stole the set after converting her 4th break point in game 12 for a 7-5.
Carried by this momentum, Belinda broke in game 4 to open up a 4-1 lead, with another break point in game 6. Osaka saved it and she broke back in game 7, the longest one of the match, returning to the positive side of the scoreboard and keeping her hopes alive.
Nonetheless, Belinda saved her best tennis for the closing moments, scoring a break at love and holding with ease in game 9 to wrap up the match and the overall tie. Switzerland vs Japan 3-0