Stars set to shine in Hopman Cup decider between Germany and Switzerland

Tennis


PERTH — Saturday night’s Hopman Cup final in Perth between Germany and Switzerland is fitting of Grand Slam deciders.

The men’s clash will feature world No.2 Roger Federer and No.4 Alexander Zverev, while the women’s singles will pit together two former top 10 players, Belinda Bencic and Angelique Kerber.

Of the quartet, only Zverev lost matches during this week’s tournament, to in-form Belgian David Goffin and Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Both countries won all three of their doubles clashes.

With arguably the best ever male player waiting for him in the final, Zverev hit the practice court as soon as Germany had won the doubles against Australia to qualify for the play-off.

“I didn’t play my best yet,” he said.

“I felt I played today better than I did the past few days even though it is still far from perfect.

“That’s why I am going to practise now at 11.30 (pm). I have to prepare the best I can against Roger.

“He is someone who feels the ball well, no matter where he goes, or how much he practises.”

In the 30th edition of the event, both countries are chasing their third titles.

Federer has been in ominous touch this tournament though, not even dropping a set in singles wins over Yuichi Sugita, Karen Khachanov, and world No. 8 Jack Sock.

World No. 74 Bencic, who missed five months last year after undergoing wrist surgery, recorded wins over top-15 players Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and CoCo Vandeweghe along the way to the final.

Bencic has never dropped a set against former world No. 1 Kerber, and leads the German 3-0 in head-to-head encounters.

The battles between Federer and Zverev have been much closer.

Zverev trails 3-2 in ATP battles, but it doesn’t include his win over Federer at last year’s Hopman Cup. That match went to to three tiebreak sets.

Federer was just 19 when he won the Hopman Cup in 2001, alongside then world No. 1 Martina Hingis.

He narrowly missed out on making the final with Bencic last year, but now has the chance to add a second Hopman Cup crown to his bulging trophy cabinet.

Bencic grew up idolising Federer, and said it would be special to win a title with the 19-time grand slam winner.

“It would mean so much. It’s a dream even playing here with Roger,” Bencic said.

“The players are taking it seriously. We would love to win.

“Kerber is a top player. She always shows it. But I’ve got a good record against her.”



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