Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic shine to retain Hopman Cup - UBITENNIS
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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.

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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.

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Ash Barty Reveals ‘Excitement’ After Mixed Doubles Medal In Tokyo

Ash Barty has revealed her excitement after her and John Peers won Australia’s first Olympic tennis medal for 17 years.

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Ash Barty and John Peers (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Ash Barty revealed her excitement at winning Bronze in the mixed doubles in Tokyo with John Peers.

 

The world number one along with doubles specialist John Peers claimed Australia’s first tennis medal at the Olympics since 2004.

Despite benefiting from a bronze medal match withdrawal from Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic, that hasn’t taken away the happiness of claiming an Olympic medal.

Speaking to the Channel 7 programmes Sunrise Barty proudly spoke about the achievement, “It’s been an amazing week for both John and I,” Barty was quoted as saying by Tennis Australia.

“We’ve played some great tennis, probably the best we’ve ever played together. To walk away with a medal and contribute to the team total here in Australia has been incredible.

“Johnny and I, we put ourselves in a position all week to play good tennis and I feel like we really deserve this one. We were so close to being in that gold medal play-off and I think for both of us, it’s been awesome. We’ve played great. I felt like we really deserved this one for Australia.

“No, I think for us it’s excitement. I just hope as athletes, as a whole Australian team that’s here – all 480 odd of us – we can bring a smile to people’s faces at home when they’re sitting on the couch enjoying watching us trying (to) go out there and do Australia proud.”

As for John Peers it was an achievement of a lifetime, inspired by the traditional Olympic spirit, “Any chance you get to represent your country and to do it alongside Ash, to be able to say we’re the first mixed doubles medallists at an Olympics for Australia is something really special,” the 33 year-old commented.

“There was so much uncertainty leading into the Games and to be able to see the way the Australian team’s come together and sort of really bonded has really shown the Australian spirit, the way that all the athletes get behind each other.

“To be able to show the Olympics is going on in uncertain times is just something really special and unique and hopefully it can be the turning point for the world, and Australia, to come out the other side.”

Both will be hoping that this week will be the start of something special for Australian tennis as they will look to capitalise on this success in three years time in Paris.

Next for John Peers will be Washington next week where he and Filip Polasek are the top seeds.

While Ash Barty will be starting her preparations for the US Open in Cincinnati which starts on the 16th of August.

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Czech Republican Trailblazers Inspire Krejcikova and Siniakova To Olympic Gold In Tokyo

Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova reflect on Czech Republic’s Olympic past after Olympic gold.

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Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova admit that former Czech Republican trailblazers inspired them to win doubles gold in Tokyo.

 

The top seeds claimed gold with a 7-5 6-1 win over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic.

After edging a tight opening set, the Czech Republican duo eased to victory to claim gold in Tokyo.

It was a historic gold as the pair went one better than trailblazers Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova who won silver in Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1992.

After the victory today Krejcikova paid tribute to those before them and said that they were inspired by those who came before them, “The motivation we got from the previous medallists is really big,” the Roland Garros champion told the ITF website.

“I think we got really inspired by them. I think we really need to thank them because without them we just wouldn’t have the motivation and the inspiration.

“It’s really big. We’re really happy and really grateful that we could be here. We did such a great job during these 10 days and we have this beautiful gold medal. It’s pretty much a dream come true.”

While Katerina Siniakova also outlined how special it is to win the gold medal as the top seeds remain the team to beat in the Women’s doubles game, “It’s really special this one,” Siniakova admitted.

“I really enjoyed my whole time here. It was really tough and I’m so glad we kept fighting and in the end we have this one, this gold medal. It’s really amazing. I feel so honoured I got to represent my country.”

The Czech Republican will be favourites to win their fourth grand slam at the US Open in late August.

As for Bencic and Golubic, it has been a successful tournament especially for Bencic who won Olympic gold yesterday.

After the match Bencic admitted it’s not just about Olympic medals and that its about the memories created, “It’s not just about the medals or the titles, it’s about the memories you create that will last forever,” Bencic claimed.

“To share this with Viki is unbelievable. The whole week I never felt like I was in a normal tournament or playing alone. She was alongside me the entire way. I always tell her we won this gold medal together as well.

“When we will be 80 years old and have a coffee, we will talk about these moments and I cannot wait for that.”

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Alexander Zverev Ends Germany’s 33-year Wait For Olympic Singles Gold

The new champion reacts to his historic win in Tokyo.

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Alexander Zverev produced a dominant performance against Karen Khachanov to clinch the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

 

The world No.5 dropped just five games during his 6-3, 6-1, win over his Russian rival. Impressively Zverev won 84% of his first service points and hit 27 winners against 15 unforced errors in the 79-minute match. It is the third time the German has won a title this season after the Mexican Open and Madrid Masters.

“It’s incredible; this is the biggest tournament you can win in any sport doesn’t matter what anybody else says doesn’t matter what some of the tennis players say,” Tennis Now quoted Zverev as telling the Olympic Channel.
“I can’t believe it. I’m an Olympic gold medalist. This is not even something you can dream about. It’s like so far away. It’s the first time in my life I don’t know what to say in an interview—this is how much it means.”

https://twitter.com/ITFTennis/status/1421787234790002691

Zverev’s milestone win came just 24 hours after he stunned world No.1 Novak Djokovic in three sets to end his bid for a Golden Slam in 2021. Earlier in the tournament, he also scored wins over Kei Nishikori, Jeremy Chardy, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Daniel Elahi Galán and Lu Yen-Hsun.

The 24-year-old has become the first player from his country to win a gold medal in singles since Steffi Graf did so back in 1988. The year tennis returned to the Olympic Games. Since then the only other German success in the Games occurred in the doubles with Boris Becker and Michael Stich claiming silver in 1992.

“Because this tournament is not about yourself; I didn’t walk on court for one second for me,” Zverev said. “I walked on court for everybody back at home, everybody here at the village, the whole country of Germany. I never gave up and never lost the spirit.”

https://twitter.com/ITFTennis/status/1421782263914799104

Meanwhile, Khachanov can take comfort in being the first Russian man to win a singles medal at the games since Yevgeny Kafelnikov won the title back in 2000. Tokyo was also the first time he has reached a singles final of any sort since winning the 2018 Paris Masters.

“You can analyse as much as you want, but we played an outstanding match from my point of view,” Khachanov told the Olympic News Service. “That’s how I felt, I tried to do basically the same things, had the same game plan. But, you know, he was just better, really. All credit to him.”

On Saturday Pablo Carreno Busta claimed the bronze medal after beating Djokovic in three sets.

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