Perth | Germany and Switzerland in final again
Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev will have the chance to avenge their defeat at the hands of Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic after defeating the hosts Australia 2-1 in this year’s Hopman Cup.
It's nice to be back in the final and play Switzerland, who we lost to in a very close match last year, That is why me and Angie decided after last year's match that we were going to come back to Perth. Hopefully I can give Roger a better match than last year. Alexander Zverev
Germany secured their place in the final to meet the defending champions by topping Group A having won both singles matches, with the mixed doubles going to ther opponents.
World number two Kerber proved too good for the 15th-ranked Ashleigh Barty in the opening match, winning 6-4 6-4.
Zverev, ranked fourth and playing in his fourth successive Hopman Cup, then secured the tie for the Germans with a 6-4 6-3 win over Matthew Ebden.
That means the final will feature the same four players as last year, a first for the tournament in what is expected to be its final instalment.
Switzerland claimed their country’s third title in Perth last year, with Federer (who first won the title in 2001 when partnering Martina Hingis) and Kerber winning their respective singles and the Swiss taking the deciding mixed doubles.
After overpowering a stubborn Ebden, Zverev said he and Kerber were motivated by last year’s loss in the final.
“It’s nice to be back in the final and play Switzerland, who we lost to in a very close match last year,” he said.
“That is why me and Angie decided after last year’s match that we were going to come back to Perth. Hopefully I can give Roger a better match than last year.
“I hope it (the final) is going to be just as exciting as last year, but just going the other way.”
Kerber had a little bit too much class for Barty in their match, the German stretching her unbeaten singles run in Perth to seven matches with the straight sets win in 74 minutes.
“I served good and was moving well and Ash is always a tricky opponent,” Kerber said.
The previous day the Swiss had claimed their place in the final despite losing 2-1 to the Greek combination in the mixed doubles decider.
Roger Federer could become the most successful player in Hopman Cup history if the team can successfully defend their title
While the tournament’s future is in doubt after 31 years, due to the arrival of the ATP Cup next year, Roger Federer felt sadness at its possible demise,
“I’m just curious myself to see what might happen,” Federer said. “These events, like the Laver Cup too and other team competitions, they get the players also closer together. Men and women, of course, we share a lot of tournaments together but it’s not the same.
“The players have always enjoyed this event and let’s hope it continues in some shape or form.”
Federer is delighted to be back in the decider and believes it’s likely to go down to the wire again, as it did against Germany 12 months ago.
“That was always the goal to get to the finals,” he said. “On top of it, I’m playing well.
“This format lends itself to some exciting tennis and I love it when it goes down to the wire and the mixed is the decider.”
For Bencic, 21, her past three years in Perth alongside Federer have been memorable.
“On and off the court, just having him around, learning from him and looking at what he does, it’s amazing,” Bencic said.
“I believe all of the people in the stadium are so jealous of me because I can play with him. I get that a lot from other WTA players and I’m just really lucky.
“Of course to be in the final is the most important thing and it’s just really great that we have the chance to defend the title.”