Federer takes Swiss into Hopman Cup final

PERTH, Australia (AFP) – Roger Federer ensured Switzerland would have the chance to defend their Hopman Cup title with a straight-sets win over Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas at the mixed teams tournament in Perth on Thursday night.

The 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4) win by the 20-time Grand Slam champion in his men’s singles match gave the Swiss a 1-0 lead in their Group B encounter, but also meant they were guaranteed a spot in tonight’s final despite eventually losing the tie.

In the women’s singles, Maria Sakkari levelled the tie with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Belinda Bencic, before the Greeks won the deciding mixed doubles in three sets.

Bencic and Federer beat the German pairing of Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev in last year’s decider, and there is a strong likelihood it will be the exact same pairing tonight, which would be a first for the tournament in what is expected to be its last year.

The 37-year-old Federer kept his unbeaten record this week intact against the 15th-ranked Tsitsipas, but there was little between the pair in both sets.

Federer found himself down 4-1 in the first set tie-break, but fought back and was handed a set point by a double fault for Tsitsipas, which the Swiss champion converted with an ace.