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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Tennis: Federer, Bencic fire as Switzerland reach Hopman Cup final

Reuters , Thursday 4 Jan 2018
Roger Federer of Switzerland
Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return against Jack Sock of the US during their tenth session men's singles match on day six of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 4, 2018 (AFP)
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Roger Federer overcame Jack Sock while Belinda Bencic battled past CoCo Vandeweghe to help Switzerland score a 3-0 victory over the United States and book a place in the final of the Hopman Cup on Thursday.

Federer stepped up his preparation for the Australian Open with a 7-6(5) 7-5 win in an absorbing match to give his side a 1-0 lead in front of a record Perth Arena crowd of 14,029.

The 19-times grand slam champion opened up a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker of an evenly-matched first set but Sock levelled at 4-4 with a flurry of powerful drives. Federer then took control, producing a neat backhand volley to close out the first set.

The second set went with serve up to 4-4 before Sock missed an opportunity to break. The American world number eight then double-faulted at 5-5 as Federer pounced to snatch a decisive break and went on to seal the win.

"I've maintained a high level in all three matches, which is a great thing," Federer said after the match.

"This was another step up in terms of ranking and I thought it was a very entertaining match for both of us... I thought it was a good step forward."

Bencic secured the victory for Switzerland with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Vandeweghe. Federer and Bencic then won the dead mixed doubles rubber 4-3(3) 4-2.

Group B winners Switzerland will face the winner of Group A in Saturday's final, with Germany, Belgium and Australia all capable of sealing top spot.

Earlier, Naomi Osaka ground out a 6-4 3-6 7-6(5) win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova but Japan failed to capitalize on the early advantage as they lost 2-1 to Russia.

Karen Khachanov thumped Yuichi Sugita 6-4 6-2 before teaming up with Pavlyuchenkova to beat the pair of Sugita and Osaka 4-1 4-0 in the mixed doubles rubber.

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