Germany, last year’s Hopman Cup runners up to Switzerland, beat Spain in their opening tie at this year’s event in Perth in their bid to collect the title for the first time since 1995 when Boris Becker and Anke Huber were in action.
It’s always tough if you play against another Grand Slam champion so that’s why I’m really happy with how I played today Angelique Kerber
Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber who came close last year, would like to rectify that and the pair certainly started positively with world No.4 Zverev securing a 2-0 winning lead in the three-rubber tie when he beat David Ferrer 6-4 4-6 7-6(0).
The dogged Ferrer, who is retiring during the 2019 season, proved a frustrating opponent for the German who admitted: “All the credit is David, coming back from a set down and break down. He is the greatest fighter, maybe, that we have ever seen in tennis.
“What he has done in tennis over the past 15 or 20 years has been absolutely amazing.”
There may have been a 124-ranking gap between the two, but the Spaniard, a former and regular top-tenner in his heyday, pushed his German opponent into 45 unforced errors during the match which Zverev was able to counter with 39 winners and eight aces.
The opening rubber saw Kerber, the women’s world No.2, bring to an end a five-match losing streak against Garbine Muguruza but was forced into a three-setter before securing the win 6-2 3-6 6-3. For Kerber, who has yet to lose a rubber in Hopman Cup competition having won all her five singles matches in two appearances, was happy with her situation.
“The first match — you never know you will feel on court. I was just trying to play every single point; trying to find the rhythm,” she said afterwards. “Of course, it is just the beginning and I am quite happy with how I played. It’s always tough if you play against another Grand Slam champion so that’s why I’m really happy with how I played today.”
“There are a few matches to come here. So far I have won everything, so it is not so bad.”
The reigning Wimbledon champion hit 31 winners to 29 against the 2017 champion of SW19, but the pair were virtually equal when it came to unforced errors with Kerber making two less with 37.
In the final rubber, the Germans were dominant as they swept through to a 3-0 overall victory with a 4-2 4-3(5-3) in the mixed rubber.
Germany’s next tie is against France on Wednesday before they face Australia on Friday in what could be a battle for a place in the final, the Aussies having beaten the French in yesterday’s evening session.