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Roger Federer has impressive start to new season

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PERTH, Australia — Roger Federer started preparation for his Australian Open title defense in style with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Cameron Norrie at the Hopman Cup on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Federer sent his 23-year-old opponent from Britain back to reality in a one-sided match lasting just 57 minutes.

The No. 91-ranked Norrie had defeated Greece’s No. 15-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Saturday in one of the biggest victories of his career, but was outclassed in his first match against Federer.

“This was a great start but obviously a long way to go here and in Melbourne,” Federer said. “It’s nice that I’m feeling as good as I am and played a wonderful match against Cameron.”

Federer started the match nervously and dropped the first three points, but dug out of a hole with trademark clutch serving. He discovered his groove by dominating Norrie’s serve and broke in the second game with a powerful cross-court backhand winner.

Federer moved the British player around by crisply hitting the lines as he won five games in a row to take control of the set. Norrie was saved total humiliation by saving two set points in the sixth game to get on the scoreboard and earn healthy applause from the near capacity crowd.

Norrie seemed momentarily inspired as he gained two break points before Federer once again recovered to close out the first set in 31 minutes.

The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion broke immediately in the second set and looked sharp as he cruised to an easy first-up victory in the tournament.

Federer’s appearances at the past two Hopman Cups laid the groundwork for successful Australian Open campaigns.

His playing partner Belinda Bencic will be aiming to give Switzerland the match when she plays Katie Boulter in the women’s singles match later.

Earlier, Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev gave Germany a 3-0 victory against Spain.

Kerber ended a five-match losing streak against Garbine Muguruza with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win. No. 4-ranked Zverev beat David Ferrer 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (0) in the men’s singles match before the German pair combined to win the mixed doubles 4-2, 4-3 in the Fast4 format.

Fognini stuns Nadal 6-4, 6-2 to reach Monte Carlo final

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MONACO (AP) Fabio Fognini ended Rafael Nadal’s long winning streak at the Monte Carlo Masters, stunning the defending champion 6-4, 6-2 Saturday to reach the final for the first time and hand Nadal his first defeat here since 2015.

The 13th-seeded Italian had beaten Nadal twice before on clay, and also once at the U.S. Open in five sets, but this was arguably the most impressive.

Not since the 2005 final, a five-setter which Nadal won in four sets, had the 11-time champion Nadal been beaten 6-0 in a set here. And Fognini came so close to doing just that.

He served for the match at 5-0 and 40-0, but Nadal saved three match points – and some pride – by breaking back and then holding.

Serving again for the match at 5-2, Fognini hit a superb forehand down the line to clinch victory on his fourth match point.

Nadal’s last defeat here was also in the semifinals, against Novak Djokovic in 2015. He had not lost a set at the clay-court tournament since conceding one in the second round against Britain’s Kyle Edmund in 2017.

Fognini next plays unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic in their first-ever meeting, and one few would have predicted happening here.

The 48th-ranked Lajovic earlier staged a remarkable comeback from 5-1 down to beat 10th-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1.

Lajovic won 10 straight games to open up a 4-0 lead in the second set before Medvedev finally held serve. But after saving one match point, the Russian player tamely hit a return long on his opponent’s next opportunity.

It could have been an all-Serb semifinal but Medvedev knocked out the top-ranked Djokovic in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Saturday’s match started in difficult conditions, with a heavy wind coming in from the Mediterranean.

Serving for the first set at 5-1, Medvedev dropped his serve and remonstrated with himself.

Lajovic clinched the first set on serve, with Medvedev completely mistiming the ball and sending it skyward.

The 28-year-old Lajovic was ill before the tournament and said he needed antibiotics to recover.

He struggled to describe his surprise run.

“Incredible … Unreal,” he said, before settling on “It’s been a great week.”

Lajovic stages comeback to reach Monte Carlo final

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MONACO (AP) Unseeded Serb Dusan Lajovic staged a remarkable comeback from 5-1 down to beat 10th-seeded Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-1 in the Monte Carlo Masters semifinals on Saturday.

Lajovic won 10 straight games to open up a 4-0 lead in the second set before Medvedev finally held serve. But after saving one match point, the Russian player tamely hit a return long on his opponent’s next opportunity.

The 48th-ranked Lajovic now plays in his first career final against 11-time champion Rafael Nadal or 13th-seeded Fabio Fognini.

It could have been an all-Serb semi but Medvedev knocked out top-ranked Novak Djokovic in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Saturday’s match started in difficult conditions, with a heavy wind coming in from the Mediterranean blowing clay around the court.

Serving for the set at 5-1, Medvedev dropped his serve and remonstrated with himself.

He had good cause.

The first-set turnaround was complete when Lajovic clinched it on serve, with Medvedev completely mistiming the ball and sending it skyward.