Roger Federer lost a tight encounter to Alexander Zverev at the MasterCard Hopman Cup but it was not enough for Germany to topple Switzerland. Meanwhile, at the Brisbane International, world No.1 Angelique Kerber kicked off 2017 with a tight victory over Australian Ash Barty. This is the Emirates Australian Open Series Day 4 wrap.
Switzerland win despite Federer loss
Roger Federer headed to the MasterCard Hopman Cup in search of guaranteed match practice. On Wednesday night he faced his first real test of 2017 when he faced 19-year-old phenom Alexander Zverev.
Federer raced to a lead in the first set, but Zverev was able to claw his way back and claim it in a tiebreak. The former world number one is never one to lay down his racket and he made 19-year-old work for everything in the second set before eventually forcing a decider after yet another tiebreak.
The record crowd in Perth were getting their moneys worth with two of the world’s best producing sublime shotmaking before a third and final tiebreak world decide the match. Zverev would eventually hold off Federer to claim an important 7-6 6-7 7-6 victory for Germany.
“He’s very good,” Federer said after the match. “It’s nice to see him every month that goes by you see that he’s added something more to the game and he’s getting more and more consistent."
Federer’s loss placed additional pressure on Belinda Bencic, but she was able to rise to the occasion and overcome Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-4 to force the tie into the Fast4 doubles.
The Swiss pair would emphatically claim the match and the tie after the 4-1 4-2 victory, to force a showdown with France, who are also unbeaten after the opening two ties.
The French defeated Great Britain 3-0 after Kristina Mladenovic gave her nation the lead after a 6-4 5-7 6-3 victory over Heather Watson, while Richard Gasquet was again flawless in his 6-4 6-2 win over Dan Evans.
The doubles also went to the French pair 4-3 4-2, as they head into the final tie with Switzerland on top of Group A.