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Federer wins Hopman Cup with Switzerland for record third time

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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.

Benedetti wins 12th stage; Polanc takes Giro lead

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PINEROLO, Italy (AP) Cesare Benedetti won the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday for his first victory as a professional while Jan Polanc took the overall leader’s pink jersey from UAE Emirates teammate Valerio Conti.

Benedetti, an Italian with the Bora team who has been a support rider for his entire career, was part of an early breakaway then accelerated from a select group of riders in a sprint finish.

“I’ve worked a lot for the others in the past but today I got my opportunity,” Benedetti said. “I’m not (usually) a winner.”

Benedetti required 3 hours, 41 minutes to complete the 158-kilometer (98-mile) leg from Cuneo to Pinerolo, which featured one major climb and another shorter but steeper ascent just before the finish.

Damiano Caruso crossed second and Eddie Dunbar came third, each with the same time as Benedetti. Polanc, a Slovenian who was also in the breakaway, finished 25 seconds behind.

In the overall standings, Polanc leads Primoz Roglic by 4 minutes, 7 seconds. Vincenzo Nibali, one of the pre-race favorites, is fifth overall, 5:51 behind.

“It was a team tactic that I would go in the breakaway so we could have a better control over the race,” Polanc said. “It was also a way to keep the pink jersey in the team.”

Mikel Landa and Miguel Angel Lopez attacked on the first-category climb to Montoso and gained about 30 seconds on the other overall favorites.

Before the stage began, sprinters Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani withdrew from the race. Ewan won two stages, including the 11th leg a day earlier, while Viviani posted three second-place finishes.

Stage 13 on Friday is one of the race’s toughest, with two category one climbs and one category ascent, along with an uphill finish at the end of the 196-kilometer leg from Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale.

The Giro ends June 2 in Verona.

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Tsonga rallies past qualifier to reach quarterfinals in Lyon

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LYON, France (AP) Former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied past Canadian qualifier Steven Diez on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals and extend his perfect record at the Lyon Open.

Tsonga, the 2017 champion, came within two points of losing but finally prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 on his sixth match point after 2 hours, 42 minutes.

The clay-court event serves as a warmup for the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“It was good for me to play a long match like this,” Tsonga said. “I haven’t played a match this long for a while. I am not playing my best level, but I am giving everything mentally and that gives me confidence.”

Tsonga will next take on top-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat lucky loser Tristan Lamasine 7-5, 7-5.

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