AP Images

Federer wins Hopman Cup with Switzerland for record third time

Leave a comment

PERTH, Australia — Roger Federer won the Hopman Cup for a record third time after defending champion Switzerland beat Germany 2-1 on Saturday.

Switzerland took its fourth Hopman Cup title overall when Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber 4-0, 1-4, 4-3 (4) in the Fast4 format in the mixed doubles decider.

In the men’s singles, Federer defeated fourth-ranked Zverev 6-4, 6-2.

Ahead of his Australian Open title defense, the 37-year-old Federer didn’t drop a set in four singles matches at the tournament, beating Frances Tiafoe, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Cameron Norrie and Zverev.

“I’m happy I’m feeling this good and playing as well as I am,” Federer said. “It’s good to finish on a singles performance like this. I’m a bit surprised that the matches have gone as well as they have.”

Switzerland won the third-set tiebreaker in the mixed doubles after Zverev hit the ball into the net on the winner-takes-all point. Germany had earlier wasted a championship point.

Federer’s impressive stroke play countered the power of Zverev in the singles before the Swiss earned a crucial break in the 10th game of the first set. Federer broke his German opponent early in the second set on his way to victory in 70 minutes.

Kerber leveled with a 6-4, 7-6 (6) win over Bencic.

Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, first won the Hopman Cup in 2001, joining forces with Martina Hingis to beat the United States in the final.

Federer and Bencic last year defeated the same German pair of Zverev and Kerber in the final.

Switzerland also won in 1992.

The Australian Open starts Jan. 14.

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.