Roger Federer geared up for his Australian Open title defence in convincing fashion, guiding Switzerland to a 2-1 triumph over Germany for their fourth Hopman Cup crown.

Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber 4-0, 1-4, 4-3(4) in the mixed doubles decider to win the trophy at the Perth Arena on Saturday in a repeat of the 2018 final.

The world No 3 had earlier shown why he is a firm favourite for the season’s first Major, firing 24 winners and nine aces in a flawless 6-4, 6-2 victory over ATP Finals champion Zverev.

Kerber also maintained her 100 percent singles record with a 6-4, 7-6(6) victory over Bencic to level the tie at 1-1, but the Germans failed to make the most of their opportunities as they went down in the tight mixed doubles rubber.

“I’m happy I’m feeling this good and playing as well as I am,” said Federer, who has won the last two Australian Open titles, after taking part in the mixed-team event.

Federer has beaten Frances Tiafoe, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Cameron Norrie and Zverev in straight sets and will be full of confidence heading into Melbourne Park later this month.

“It’s good to finish on a singles performance like this. I’m a bit surprised the matches have gone as well as they have,” the 37-year-old added.

It was Federer’s third title success in the Hopman Cup, more than any other player, following victory in 2001 alongside then world No 1 Martina Hingis and last year’s win with Bencic.

Federer and Bencic are also the first pair in the event’s 31-year history to retain their title.

“I’m very happy about these records, but I didn’t come here for that,” 20-times Major champion Federer said.

“What a thrill it was, not just the match point, but also the whole match and the whole week. It’s great fun. I’m happy, I’m proud to represent my country. It’s been a super pleasure teaming with Belinda.”

Switzerland’s first win in the competition was secured by Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere and Jakob Hlasek in 1992.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta has suffered an injury setback just a week before the start of the Australian Open.

The 27-year-old, ranked 37th in the world, has withdrawn from the Sydney International due to a neck problem.

She retired 18 minutes into her second-round qualifying match against Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova while trailing 4-1.

Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic has backed Rafael Nadal to come back in time for the Australian Open after his withdrawal from Brisbane International following a thigh strain last week. The latest upset came just two months after the Spaniard underwent foot surgery.

“He’s the only one that really knows how he feels, you know,” Djokovic said, having bowed out of the Qatar Open following his semi-final defeat to eventual winner Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

“He (Nadal) has done the comebacks for so many times in his career that you always believe that he can do it again. I have known him obviously over the years and he’s a great competitor and great champion as a person and as an athlete.

“He has a very physical style of tennis which obviously is putting a lot of load and pressure on his joints, on his knees. Sport needs Rafa, no question about it. He is one of the greatest legends of all time.”


Donnybrook’s Osgar Ó Hoisín enjoyed double delight at the Shared Access National Indoor Tennis Championships yesterday after triumphing in both the men’s singles and doubles finals.

The 22-year-old defeated David Lloyd Riverview’s Thomas Brennan 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 on his own turf to successfully defend his singles crown.

After the opening set, No 3 seed Brennan held his nerve by breaking his opponent at 5-5, holding in the next game to throw the clash wide open at one set all.

However, Ó hOisín regained the upper hand in the final set by breaking at 4-3 and holding to love in the ninth game to secure his crown.

Ó hOisín then followed that triumph up when joining Naas’ David Gardiner for a 6-4, 6-3 final victory over Carrickmines’ Owen Kirk and Celbridge’s Dorian Kos in the men’s doubles.

Meanwhile, the women’s singles decider proved much more straightforward, when Dundalk’s Ruth Copas lost out to the No 1 seed Giulia Remondina, from Italy, in their 6-1, 6-2 final.

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