Federer guides Swiss to Hopman Cup triumph

DOUBLE MAGIC: Switzerland's Roger Federer (left) and Belinda Bencic kiss the Hopman Cup after beating Germany in the final on Saturday. AFP

Roger Federer geared up for his Australian Open title defence in convincing fashion, guiding Switzerland to a 2-1 triumph over Germany on Saturday 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 deciding mixed doubles rubber to secure the trophy at the Perth Arena in a repeat of last year's title clash.

The world number three earlier stamped his authority as a firm favourite for the season's first major, firing 24 winners and nine aces in a flawless 6-4, 6-2 win over ATP Finals champion Zverev.

Kerber too 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.

Nishikori in final

Japanese star Kei Nishikori was in superb form as he demolished Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-2 in the Brisbane International semifinals.

The 29-year-old gave his French opponent no chance as he put on a commanding all-court display to advance to the final for the second time in three years.

Nishikori will go into Sunday's final against fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev as firm favourite. Medvedev reached the decider with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 win over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Medvedev came back from 0-3 down in the first set then saved two set points in the first set tiebreak before running away with the second.

Japan's Naomi Osaka lamented her poor attitude following a straight-sets thrashing by Lesia Tsurenko in the women's competition.

World number five Osaka was beaten 6-2, 6-4 in 65 minutes by Latvia's Tsurenko, who comfortably broke her opponent's serve four times en route to the biggest final of her career.

Tsurenko faces 2017 champion and former world number one Karolina Pliskova, who thumped Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4.

Sabalenka rallies

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka won the Shenzhen open after a nail-biting clash against three-time finalist Alison Riske.

Sabalenka lost the first set to her American opponent, before coming back to win the match 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

The Shenzhen open was the Belarusian's fifth WTA final in the last ten months and her first international trophy. The world number 13 had a breakthrough season last year when she won titles at Wuhan and New Haven.

Unstoppable Andreescu

Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu continued her fairy-tale run through the WTA Classic on Saturday, stunning third seed Hsieh Su-Wei to set up a final against defending champion Julia Gorges.

The 18-year-old qualifier's 6-3, 6-3 semifinal triumph followed victories over two former world number ones, the now number three Caroline Wozniacki and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams.

In contrast, second-seed Goerges who beat Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-1, 7-6 (8/6) in her semifinal has not faced one seeded player all week.

 

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Federer guides Swiss to Hopman Cup triumph

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