Swiss duo Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic have successfully defended their Hopman Cup title against Germany's Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev in Perth. The tournament comes just before the Australian Open.
In a nervy and exciting mixed doubles decider, Switzerland beat the Germans 4-0, 1-4, 4-3 (5-4), in an abbreviated Fast4 Tennis format to claim their second successive title against the same opposition.
While the Swiss hammered the Germans in the first set, Germany fought back to take the second. In the third, the Swiss broke early again but Germany broke back at the end to level at 3-3 and force a tiebreak, which the Swiss won 5-4.
The same Swiss pair won the mixed gender tournament in 2017 and Saturday's result means Federer has become the most successful player in Hopman Cup history in what is likely to be the last staging of the competition.
"I am happy I was able to maintain the good, high quality tennis I showed all week," Federer 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."
It was Switzerland's fourth title overall, behind only the United States with six. Federer first won the Hopman Cup back in 2001 when he teamed with Martina Hingis.
The 37-year-old gave the Swiss an early lead with a straight sets win against Zverev, before Kerber squared the tie by beating a determined Belinda Bencic to set up the mixed doubles decider.
Several players have spoken this year's event as ideal preperation for the Australian Open, the first grand slam of 2019 starts next week.
mp (DPA, AFP)