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.
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.
The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.
The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.
“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.
Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.
Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.
Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.
“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”
Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.