Hopman Cup: Roger Federer comes from a set down to beat Alexander Zverev

Tennis - Belinda Bencic will try to win the title for Switzerland against Angelique Kerber

by Jovica Ilic
Hopman Cup: Roger Federer comes from a set down to beat Alexander Zverev

Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev, world number 2 and 4, opened the 30th Hopman Cup final action with a much-anticipated clash that has been expected since the start of the tournament. 12 months ago they played here in Perth as well and Sascha got that one by 7-6 6-7 7-6, but it was all about Roger today, as the Swiss beat his young opponent by 6-7 6-0 6-2 to wrap up the opening point for his country before the second singles match between Belinda Bencic and Angelique Kerber. After a thrilling opening set, that Zverev grabbed in the tie break, Roger shifted into a higher gear to leave Sascha far behind him, storming over his rival to conquer the second set by 6-0 and he raced through the decider as well to complete an impressive triumph, his 4th at this year's Hopman Cup in as many matches.

Zverev didn't play his best tennis this week in Perth, losing to David Goffin and Thanasi Kokkinakis as well, but he looked good today in the first set, hitting some nice winner in the tie break to clinch it by 7-4. Out of sudden, he faded from the court in the rest of the match and Roger took full charge to bring the encounter home in style after an hour and 48 minutes.

Roger saved all 4 break points to keep his serve intact and he was all over Zverev on the return, creating 14 break opportunities and converting 5 in sets 2 and 3. Roger served at 72% and he hit 16 aces, losing just 24% of the points in his games.

German had the same percentage of the first serves in but he struggled much more in his games, especially in the second set when he won just 5 points in 3 service games. Federer was super aggressive, pretty much how he played during the whole week here in Perth, and once he reduced the number of errors he became too hard to handle for Sascha, who lost his ground completely after winning that opener.

It was a serious and high-quality contest right from the start, with the first 2 games lasting 13 minutes and with 3 break points up for grabs for both players. They saved them to remain on serve and it was a very solid hitting on both sides.

Federer saved a break point in the 7th game and he created a set point in game 12, with a great chance to steal the opener before the tie break. Sascha saved it and brought the game home after forcing an error from Roger, and a beautiful backhand winner gave him 3 set points in the tie break.

Roger saved the first with a touchy drop shot but Zverev sealed the set with a forehand cross court winner in the next point to complete the opening set in 56 minutes. One questionable decision at the start of the second set broke Sascha's rhythm and attention completely, fading from the court to drop the set by 6-0 in just 22 minutes! Roger didn't need the second invitation and he imposed his shots to outplay his rival fare and square, attacking from all over the court and leaving his rival with no answer.

Federer continued where he left in the decider as well, using the momentum to fire winner after winner, mixing his game beautifully and marching towards the finish line. He broke in the third game thanks to some fine defense and again in game 5 after a wild backhand from Sascha, who just wanted to leave the court as soon as possible.

German saved 2 match points in game 7 but Roger earned another one with a masterclass drop shot in game 8. An even better one followed to seal the deal for the Swiss, who could be very pleased with the way he performed in 4 singles matches here at the Hopman Cup, setting his eyes on Australian Open title defense. Switzerland vs Germany 1-0


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Roger Federer Alexander Zverev Angelique Kerber