Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic captured the Hopman Cup title for a second year in a row on Saturday night, edging Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber in a deciding mixed doubles match—and in a single deciding point—to seal victory at the team exhibition event.
The championship tie kicked off with Federer beating Zverev in the men’s singles, 6-4, 6-2, a little bit of revenge for a semifinal loss to the German in the semifinals of the ATP Finals last November.
“He had a wonderful end to the season, beating me and Novak back-to-back in the semis and finals in London—that was a great effort by him, and that’s going to set him up for this season quite nicely,” Federer said. “But this was a good match for me, no doubt about it. I think I served really well. The conditions are quick, so when you string together a nice serve-and-volley game like I did today, it’s always going to be tough for any opponent. I think Sascha struggled, but I made the most of it.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Roger Federer d. Alexander Zverev at the Hopman Cup
Kerber then followed with a tighter 6-4, 7-6 (6) win over Bencic in the women’s singles, though it could have ended much earlier—the German originally led 6-4 5-3 and served for the match twice at 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set, and even had double match point earlier in the tie-break leading 6-4.
“It’s always tough to play against Belinda—you have to win the last point, and she’s always fighting until the last one,” Kerber said. “I was trying to play point by point and not think too much ahead, and just going for it. I’m happy that I won the first point for Germany and now it’s time for mixed, I think!”
Federer and Bencic clinched the title in the mixed doubles, 4-0, 1-4, 4-3 (5-4), and it couldn’t have had a closer finish. In the short sets format there’s a winner-takes-all point if it’s tied at 4-4 in the third set tie-break, and with a single Zverev shot into the net off a Bencic volley, the Swiss sealed victory.
HIGHLIGHTS: Angelique Kerber d. Belinda Bencic at the Hopman Cup
It was Federer’s third Hopman Cup title, which is more than any other player - male or female—in the history of the exhibition event. He’d won it in 2001 with Martina Hingis and last year with Bencic too.
“I’m very happy about these records, but I didn’t come here for that,” Federer told HopmanCup.com.
“What a thrill it was—not just the match point, but also the whole match and the whole week. It’s great fun. I’m happy and proud to represent my country. It’s been a super pleasure teaming with Belinda.”
Federer leaves the Hopman Cup with a 4-0 record in singles and will kick off his Australian Open campaign in little over a week. He’s won the title there two years in a row (and six times overall).
This Week on Tennis Channel Plus:
Hopman Cup (Sat - Sat 12.29 - 1.5)
• Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber headline the Hopman Cup. Watch live coverage on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Saturday 12/29 at 9:00pm ET.
ATP/WTA Brisbane (Sun - Sun 12.30 - 1.6)
• Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Naomi Osaka and Sloane Stephens open their 2019 seasons in Brisbane. Live coverage from three courts begins on Tennis Channel Plus on Sunday 12/30 at 8:00pm ET.
WTA Auckland (Sun - Sun 12.30 - 1.6)
• Catch the action from the ASB Classic including Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki. Live coverage begins on Tennis Channel Plus on Sunday 12/30 at 8:00pm ET.
WTA Shenzhen (Sat - Sat 12.29 - 1.5)
• Watch first to last ball action from the Shenzhen Open featuring Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko beginning Saturday 12/29 at 11:00pm ET.
ATP Pune (Mon - Sat 12.31 - 1.5)
• Watch Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic and Hyeon Chung live from Pune starting Monday 12/31 at 6:30am ET.