Roger Federer To Headline Hopman Cup As Japan Fields First Team Since 2001 - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer To Headline Hopman Cup As Japan Fields First Team Since 2001

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Roger Federer at the 2017 Hopman Cup (zimbio.com)

19-time grand slam champion Roger Federer will return to Perth in January to play in the MasterCard Hopman Cup for the second consecutive year.

 

The world No.2 will pair up with Belinda Bencic to play in the exhibition event, which features mixed teams of two players from around the world. Federer, who last won the event back in 2001 with Martina Hingis, is projected to be the highest ranked player to participate in the 2018 tournament.

It was at the Hopman Cup, where Federer played his first competitive match since returning from a six-month injury lay-off at the start of this season. His presence proved to be a hit with Siwtzerland’s tie against Germany attracting a total of 13,785 spectators. The biggest ever crowd to attend a tennis event in Western Australia.

A total of eight teams will take part. Among them will be Japan, who hasn’t participated in the Hopman Cup for 16 years. Yuichi Sugita and Naomi Osaka will be representing the country. The two will be bidding to guide Japan to the final of the event for the first time in the competition’s history.

Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev will lead the German contingent. Two-time grand slam champion Kerber will be making her debut in the event.

“I’m excited to play in Perth at the Hopman Cup for the first time,” Kerber told hopmancup.com.
“I’ve watched the tournament from afar and have always wanted to play. The crowd and atmosphere at the arena looked incredible this year and I can’t wait to be a part of it in 2018.
“Sascha (Alexander Zverev) is such a talented player and has had an exceptional year. I know we will enjoy playing together for Germany,” she added.

Depending on the draw, there could be a rematch of Federer against Zverev in Perth. In January the world No.4 got the better of the Swiss 36-year-old in three tightly contested tiebreakers. On the ATP Tour, their head-to-head is currently tied at 2-2.

“My match with Roger in January was an amazing experience with wonderful crowds who really love their tennis,” Zverev recounted.

Thanassi Kokkinakis is relishing his presence in the draw alongside Daria Gavrilova. Despite being the host nation, Australia has only managed to win the Hopman Cup twice since 1989 (1999 and 2016).

“I can’t wait. Hopman Cup is an opportunity and I’ve been wanting to play for a few years now,” Kokkinakis said.
“Obviously health hasn’t let me but I had an unbelievable experience when I was sixteen years old.
“It’s going to be unreal. To have three to four quality matches in the heat, maybe it’s hotter than it is in Melbourne and getting ready for the Aussie Open, is going to be perfect. Quality opposition – what better way to prepare?”

The 2018 Hopman cup will take place between January 1st-7th. A total of six current top 20 players are set to participate.

Full list of teams

Australia – Thanasi Kokkinakis and Daria Gavrilova
Belgium – David Goffin and Elise Mertens
Canada – Vasek Pospisil and Eugenie Bouchard
Germany – Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber
Japan – Yuichi Sugita and Naomi Osaka
Russia – Karen Khachanov and Svetlana Kuznetsova
Switzerland – Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic
USA – Jack Sock and Coco Vandeweghe

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Petra Kvitova set semifinal against Anett Kontaveit in Ostrava

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Anett Kontaveit upset this year’s Olympic singles gold medallist Belinda Bencic 6-4 6-3 after 74 minutes in the quarter finals of the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. Kontaveit set up a semifinal clash against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. 

 

Kontaveit has extended her winning streak against Bencic to 2-0. The Estonian had beaten her Swiss rival in the third round of the 2020 Australian Open. 

Kontaveit scored her fourth win over a top 20 player this year. She won the second WTA title of her career in Cleveland before the US Open. 

Kontaveit hit 29 winners to just 18 unforced errors and converted five of her eight break points. Bencic produced 12 winners to 18 unforced errors. 

In the first set Kontaveit broke serve in the fourth and sixth games to race out to a 5-1 lead and earned a set point in the seventh game. Bencic fired a winner to save the set point. The Swiss player fended off another set point at 5-3. 

Bencic pulled both breaks back to get back on seve at 5-4. However, Kontaveit converted the first of her three set points. Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the third set. Kontaveit hit a backhand winner down the line to break serve for 4-2 in the sixth game. She held serve at love for 5-2 and sealed the win in the ninth game on her second match point with a crosscourt backhand winner. 

Petra Kvitova knocked out Jill Teichmann 6-4 6-4. The Czech player saved seven of the eight break points she faced. 

Kvitova saved five break points in the fourth game of the first set to hold serve for 2-2. The Czech player earned the break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, as Teichmann sent her forehand long. Kvitova hit her forehand to earn three set points and converted her second chance by forcing an error. 

Kvitova earned an early break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Teichmann broke straight back to draw to 2-2. Kvitova hit a series of backhands to get her second break in the fifth game for 3-2 and saved three break points to hold serve for 4-2. The home player earned three set points with a backhand winner at 5-4. After missing her first match point with a double fault, she converted her second chance with an unreturnable serve. 

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Iga Swiatek sets up semifinal against Maria Sakkari in Ostrava

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Last year’s Roland Garros Iga Swiatk reached the first semifinal since May in Rome with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win over Elena Rybakova after 1 hour and 41 minutes. 

 

Swiatek earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Rybakina broke back with a crosscourt backhand to draw level to 3-3. Swiatek held serve easily for 6-6 to set up a tie-break. 

Swiatek earned the first set point at 6-5 and converted her chance when Rybakina sent a backhand wide. 

Swiatek raced out to a 5-1 lead with a double break. Rybakina pulled one break back for 2-5 with a backhand down the line winner on break point. Swiatek sealed the second set 6-2 on the third match point. 

Swiatek set up a semifinal clash against Maria Sakkari, who secured a place in her sixth semifinal of the season with a 7-5 6-3 win over Tereza Martincova after 1 hour and 36 minutes. Sakkari has extended her head-to-head lead to 3-0. Sakkari has reached a career-high of world number 12 after reaching two Grand Slam semifinals at Roland Garros and at the US Open. 

Sakkari earned an early break in the first game. The Greek faced two break points in the 10th game of the first game, when she was broken at 5-4 in the first set. Sakkari converted her third break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Sakkari broke twice in the third and ninth games to win the second set 6-3. She has lost all her five semifinals in 2021 so far.  

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Pablo Carreno Busta moves into semifinals in Metz with a win over Holger Rune

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Pablo Carreno Busta beat Danish Next Gen rising Holger Vitus Notskov Rune 6-4 3-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 11 minutes to advance to the semifinals in Metz. Carreno Busta won 77% of his first serve points. 

 

Carreno Busta broke serve in the fifth game to win the first set 6-4. Rune bounced back by breaking serve in the second game to claim the second set 6-3. The third set went on serve until the eighth game when Carreno Busta earned a break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Rune broke straight back in the ninth game but Carreno Busta earned his second break to close out the third set 6-4.

“Rune is playing really well. He is playing really well. He is going to improve a lot in the next months. I am happy as it was a very important victory for me. When you play this kind of player, you have all the pressure to win and at the end it was a really good battle”, said Carreno Busta. 

Carreno Busta won the Olympic bronze medal, won the Marbella Open and his first ATP 500 title on clay in Hamburg. 

Rune beat Lorenzo Sonego en route to the quarter final. The young Dane is aiming to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

Carreno Busta will face Gael Monfils, who eased past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 6-3 with four breaks after 68 minutes. The Frenchman has reached his first ATP Tour level semifinal since Dubai in February 2020. 

“At the beginning I was more comfortable but then in the second set he started to be more aggressive with the returns and I was not as comfortable then. It will be a tough match against Monfils. I will be younger in the next match. I will try to do my best. Gael is an incredible player”, said Carreno Busta. 

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