Hopman Cup

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Roger Federer back for Switzerland at Hopman Cup team event

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PERTH, Australia (AP) Roger Federer will return to partner Belinda Bencic for Switzerland at the Hopman Cup, while Japan will make its first appearance in 16 years at the international mixed team event.

After the last Hopman Cup, Federer went on to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon, his 18th and 19th Grand Slam singles titles.

Two-time Grand Slam singles Angelique Kerber will represent Germany with ATP No. 4 Alexander Zverev, tournament officials said Wednesday.

Yuichi Sugita and Naomi Osaka will play for Japan, while Australia will be represented by Daria Gavrilova and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

The other teams in Dec. 30-Jan. 6 event at Perth Arena are: the United States: Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe; Russia: Svetlana Kuznetsova and Karen Khachanov; Belgium: David Goffin and Elise Mertens; and Canada: Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil.

Mladenovic, Gasquet give France second Hopman Cup title

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PERTH, Australia — Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet clinched France’s second Hopman Cup title, beating Americans CoCo Vandeweghe and Jack Sock 4-1, 4-3 in the deciding mixed doubles match in the tournament final on Saturday.

Earlier, Vandeweghe beat Mladenovic 6-4, 7-5 after Gasquet saved a match point in the third-set tiebreaker and held on for a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (6) win over Sock to give France the early lead in the exhibition tournament.

The mixed doubles was played under the Fast4 format of four-game sets, no deuces and a five-point tiebreaker when sets are tied at 3. France shut out the American team in the second-set tiebreaker 5-0.

The French pair had defeated Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the deciding mixed doubles on Friday night to advance to the final.

The U.S. has won the Hopman Cup a record six times in the tournament’s 29-year history.

“I was just trying to keep the team alive, that’s the whole concept out here,” Vandeweghe said after saving break points in two consecutive service games in the second set to send the final to the mixed doubles decider.

Sock broke Gasquet’s service in the 11th game of the deciding set of the opening men’s singles, helped by Gasquet’s double-fault on break point. But Gasquet came back to break Sock in the next game and send it to a tiebreaker.

Gasquet said he didn’t panic when he faced a match point.

“I tried to focus on myself and be tough mentally,” Gasquet said. “It’s very difficult. I know him very well. He’s a great friend of mine. But on the court, it doesn’t count.”

The men’s match lasted 2 1/2 hours.

“I let it slip away at the end,” Sock said. “I was holding fairly comfortably for a while. So when I got the break I felt pretty good about it. And then later when I had the match point, I played way too tentatively.”

Organizers announced earlier Saturday that the tournament would remain in the Western Australian state capital for at least the next five years. The state government extended its contract with the International Tennis Federation and Tennis Australia to host the exhibition event at Perth Arena until at least 2022.

Federer makes short work of Gasquet at Hopman Cup

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PERTH, Australia — Roger Federer defeated Richard Gasquet of France 6-1, 6-4 to move Switzerland to within one win of the Hopman Cup final on Friday.

Federer, making his return to tournament play after six months off with a left knee injury, was rarely threatened in the match before a capacity crowd of nearly 14,000 at Perth Arena. He finished the 56-minute match with two service winners.

“It’s the third match into the year, so I’m starting to see the ball better and better,” said Federer, who lost to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in three tiebreak sets on Wednesday.

Federer’s teammate, Belinda Bencic, was to play Kristina Mladenovic of France in the second singles. A win advances Switzerland to Saturday’s final against the United States team of Coco Vandeweghe and Jack Sock.

The U.S. has won the Hopman Cup a record six times in the tournament’s 28-year history

Earlier, Zverev and Andrea Petkovic beat Britain’s Daniel Evans and Heather Watson 4-2, 4-2 in doubles to give Germany a 2-1 win.

Watson beat Petkovic 6-2, 7-6 (3), coming back from 5-1 down in the second set. But Zverev leveled for Germany when he beat Evans 6-4, 6-3, sending the tie to the doubles decider which was played under the Fast4 format.

It was Germany’s first win of the tournament. Britain finished 0-3.