Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic shine to retain Hopman Cup - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ITF

Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic shine to retain Hopman Cup

Federer and Bencic withstood a strong challenge from Zverev and Kerber to win the Hopman Cup for the second year in a row.

Published

on

Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic played sparkling tennis to beat Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber 4-0 1-4 4-3(4) in the deciding mixed doubles rubber and retain the Hopman Cup in Perth.

 

The tournament’s exciting conclusion was set up by a 6-4 6-2 win for Federer over Zverev and a 6-4 7-6(6) win for Kerber over Bencic.

Federer and Bencic were virtually flawless in the opening set. They secured two easy holds, punished some lacklustre serving from Zverev to earn an early break, and then took Kerber’s serve apart to clinch it 4-0 in just 13 minutes.

To their immense credit, the German pair responded superbly. They served a lot better and broke both Swiss players’ serves to turn things around completely and win the second set 4-1.

As so often in three-set matches, the decider was much closer. After Zverev handed Federer and Bencic an early break with a double-fault, all four players held serve in consecutive games for the only time in the match to move the score along to 3-2 to the Swiss.

That left Federer with the chance to serve for the title, and most viewers would have expected him to take it. However, Zverev and Kerber had other ideas.

First, the German woman produced a stunning forehand around the net post to win the opening point. Then Zverev pounced on a weak volley form the Swiss man to make it 0-30.

The Germans made it 0-40 when Zverev hit a superb low return to set Kerber up for a decisive volley, and then sealed the break two points later when Federer netted a backhand volley.

Federer and Bencic win thrilling tie-break

In the tie-break, the Germans combined well to earn an immediate mini-break, only for the Swiss to peg them back immediately with some good tactics of their own.

Bencic then fired down a big serve which Zverev was unable to return, before the German hit a backhand volley into Federer’s knee to level the score again.

The Swiss got the better of a wonderful rally to move ahead, but a big serve from Zverev kept the final on a knife-edge at 3-3.

And it was the Germans who earned the first chance to win it when Zverev hit a superb return that bisected Federer and Bencic.

However, the Swiss were far from done. Federer sent an excellent serve out wide and then put away an easy volley to make it 4-4 and championship point for both teams.

What a point it turned out to be. Zverev returned a wide serve from Federer and then the Germans tried everything to get the ball past the Swiss at the net.

But Federer and Bencic kept their cool, and it was the 21-year-old who got the champagne moment when she hit a low volley that Zverev could only re-direct into the net.

Federer produces his best to beat Zverev

Earlier in the day, Federer and Zverev set the standard with a high-quality opening singles match which began with an exhibition of great serving, as both players held with ease in the first five games.

In a sign of things to come, the Swiss then put the German under plenty of pressure in his next two service games.

Zverev dug in to hold both times, but Federer eventually broke down his resistance in the tenth game of the opening set to take it 6-4.

The 20-time Grand Slam threatened to run away with the second set when he charged into a 3-0 lead. However, the World No.4 demonstrated his willingness to fight. He secured two gutsy holds to just about stay in the contest at 2-5.

Unfortunately for Zverev, Federer found another gear. He played some excellent shots to break the German again and seal a straight-sets win.

Kerber holds off strong Bencic challenge

The standard remained high during an absorbing women’s singles encounter between Kerber and Bencic.

It was the German who made a stronger start as she opened up a 3-0 lead in the first set. But the Swiss then gained a foothold by earning a break in game four and holding serve in game five.

Bencic almost made it three games in a row when she had three chances to break in game six. However, she was unable to take any of them and it ultimately cost her as Kerber secured two far easier holds to finish off the set 6-4.

The second set was terrific entertainment. The Swiss raised her level and pushed the three-time Grand Slam champion all the way.

Although she dropped serve in the opening game, Bencic never let it bother her and eventually broke back in game ten.

By this stage, the Swiss was clearly the aggressor, as most points ended when she either hit a winner or made an unforced error.

Unfortunately for Bencic, she made too many of the latter in game nine and lost her serve again. However, she bounced back immediately to force a tie-break.

At this point, Kerber’s experience showed. She worked the Swiss around the court intelligently to establish a 6-4 lead, and then refused to panic when Bencic drew level.

First, she produced a brilliant backhand return that was too hot for the World No.54 to handle. Then she forced Bencic wide to set herself up to hit the backhand winner that sealed victory.

Fed Cup

Australia Down Belarus In Thriller To End 26-Year Wait For Fed Cup Final

It is joy for the Aussies and heartbreak for Belarus in Brisbane.

Published

on

The Australian Fed Cup team (photo via https://twitter.com/FedCup)

The Australian duo of Ashleigh Barty and Sam Stosur has guided their country into the final of the Fed Cup for the first time since 1993 after a dramatic final day of their clash with Belarus.

 

Australia, who last won the team competition back in 1974, was pushed to their limits at the Pat Rafter Arena with the final match of the tie deciding their fate. After day one, they were held at 1-1 by Belarus. A team compromising of two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka and world No.10 Aryna Sabalenka.

Barty gave the home favourites an initial 2-1 advantage after she disposed of Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2. A player who she lost to twice during the second half of the 2018 season. However, Azarenka revived Belarus’ chances immediately with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1, win over tour veteran Stosur. Making it her first victory in the competition since 2016.

With all to play for, it was the doubles match that separated the two. During a roller coaster encounter, Barty and Stosur prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, over their rivals. Breaking twice in the decider on route to securing the overall 3-2 victory.

“It’s just super-exciting now to be in the Fed Cup final,” Stosur told fedcup.com afterwards. “All the girls, we work so hard throughout the year, and we really stick together as a team, Fed Cup weeks or not Fed Cup weeks. We’ve always got each others back, so to be in the Fed Cup final not I think a great reward for both of us, and we’re going to give it our best shot here in November.”

Team captain Alicia Molik has hailed the performance of her team. This year was the first time Australia has contested a semi-final of the competition since 2014. The country ranks third on the all-time list for more trophies won, but have failed to gain success in recent decades.

“It was just an incredible weekend,” Australian captain Molik reflected.
“We hadn’t exactly planned for it to come to the doubles, yet we were prepared. We got to that position, and I was really pleased today with both the outputs of Ash – it was phenomenal tennis out there – and Sam gave it her best.
“You can just see the joy in our faces too – winning that doubles rubber, what it means. We’re now in the final. I’m just so proud.”

In November’s final Australia will play either France or Romania.

Continue Reading

Fed Cup

Yulia Putintseva Saves Three Match Points To Keep Kazakhstan Alive Against Great Britain

Yulia Putintseva once again brought the drama as she saved Kazakhstan from being 2-0 down against Great Britain.

Published

on

Yulia Putintseva (@bbctennis - Twitter)

Yulia Putintseva saved three match points to defeat Katie Boulter 3-6 6-2 7-6(6) and level the tie for Kazakhstan against Great Britain.

 

In a match where there were injuries, passion and lots of drama, Putintseva saved three match points to level the tie for Kazakhstan.

Despite having a 4-0 lead in the deciding set, Boulter couldn’t close out the match as Great Britain are pegged back heading into the second day.

Earlier in the day Johanna Konta edged out Zarina Diyas 4-6 6-3 6-2 to give the hosts the lead in their World Group II Play-Off tie.

It was a good start from the Brit as she timed the ball to perfection as the Kazakh had no answers in the opening set. Two breaks at the end of the set sealed a positive start for Boulter, who was feeding off the crowd’s enthusiasm.

However the second set was a very different story as the Brit struggled with a knee injury as Putintseva took a more aggressive approach to proceedings.

Three games in a row against a cautious Boulter saw the world number 38 force a deciding set, which was sealed by an ace.

The final set saw Boulter time the ball exceptionally well again and overpower forehands with some aggressive forehands.

A 4-0 lead seemingly saw the Brit cruising but back came the controversial Kazakh as she managed to rescue one of the breaks of serve.

In nervy circumstances the world number 86 couldn’t hold her nerve when serving for the match at 5-3 as Putintseva pushed to force a final set tiebreak.

After one match point disappearing in the eleventh game, Boulter remained aggressive to create two more chances to seal the match.

But never count out Putintseva and four points in a row thanks to some gutsy play saw the Kazakh take the match in over two and a half hours as Britain sense an opportunity missed.

It is a gutting loss for Britain, who should have a commanding 2-0 lead but instead have been pegged back at 1-1. The match is level after Johanna Konta edged out Zarina Diyas in the first rubber.

After controversy with the Kazakh’s fans trombone and trumpets, the Brit kept her cool to seal a crucial rubber for the hosts.

Tomorrow Johanna Konta will face Yulia Putintseva, with Katie Boulter, if 100%, playing Zarina Diyas. If the singles are once again split, then a deciding doubles rubber will decide the outcome of the tie.

Great Britain are looking to enter the top two tiers of Women’s Tennis for the first time in 28 years.

Continue Reading

Fed Cup

Impressive Barty Puts Australia Back On Track In Brisbane Against Belarus

Ashleigh Barty produced some high-quality tennis to level the tie for Australia against Belarus in their semi-final.

Published

on

Ashleigh Barty (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

Ashleigh Barty once again produced an impressive performance as she defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-6(2) 6-3 to level the tie for Australia. 

 

The Miami Open champion was impressive in the big moments as she levelled the tie for Australia against Belarus in their World Group semi-final.

Despite Azarenka’s resilience and great returning, the 21 year-old from Brisbane held on to seal the victory in front of her home fans.

Earlier in the day Aryna Sabalenka battled past Sam Stosur 7-5 5-7 6-3 in 2 hours and 51 minutes to give Belarus an early lead.

It was a pressure situation for Barty in heavy conditions as she looked to keep Australia’s hopes of reaching a first Fed Cup final since 1993 alive.

Keeping the unforced errors down and powerful returns was the key for the Belarusian to stay competitive in this contest.

However Azarenka’s serve let her down on occasions which allowed Barty to get back into the match in very heavy conditions in Brisbane.

After two breaks of serve each it was the Australian who played a flawless tiebreak to seal the first set and the home favourite only went from strength to strength.

Another three breaks of serve in the second set sealed the victory and set up a fantastic second day of action in this semi-final.

After the match Australian captain Alicia Molik couldn’t have been any prouder of her team’s efforts, “She backs herself in the big moments,” Molik explained to fedcup.com.

“When the occasion is there she’s prepared to play big…. She shone through at the right moments. I’m happy with where we’re sitting in terms of one win all. I thought Sam was brilliant today. That’s all I could have asked from her, I think she put out a great display.”

The earlier match saw Aryna Sabalenka battle past a gritty Sam Stosur in nearly three hours as she gave the Belarusians the early lead.

This means that day two is set up perfectly as world number nine Ashleigh Barty will face world number ten Aryna Sabalenka in the first match tomorrow.

Daria Gavrilova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich may be brought into the fourth rubber before a doubles rubber will decide who reaches the Fed Cup Final.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending