Federer, Bencic lead Swiss over US and into Hopman Cup final

ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 05, 2018 08:56 AM
Federer, Bencic lead Swiss over US and into Hopman Cup final
FILE - Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after winning his men's semifinals match against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament at Qizhong Forest Sports City Tennis Center in Shanghai, China, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic advanced Switzerland into the Hopman Cup final with straight-set singles victories over their American opponents on Thursday.

Federer beat Jack Sock 7-6 (5), 7-5 before Bencic defeated CoCo Vandeweghe 7-6 (6), 6-4 to give Switzerland a winning 2-0 edge and first place in Group B.

Switzerland will play the Group A winner in Saturday's final at Perth Arena. Germany, which has won both its group matches, can advance to play Switzerland if it beats Australia on Friday.

Federer waited until the 11th game of the second set to hit his best shot of the tournament, a forehand down the line that Sock got his racket on, but could only dump into the net.

"All I remember was the last two shots — the pickup on the backhand, and the forehand on the run down the line where he ends up not making the volley," Federer said.

That point broke the American's serve for a 6-5 lead. Federer opened and ended his next service game with an ace to clinch the match.

Federer was just 19 when he won the Hopman Cup in 2001 with then top-ranked Martina Hingis. He and Bencic lost in the final last year to France.

"It would be lovely to win again," Federer said.

Earlier, Karen Khachanov and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Yuichi Sugita and Naomi Osaka 4-1, 4-0 in a Fast4 mixed doubles decider to give Russia a 2-1 victory over Japan.

The Russian team took advantage of a number of unforced errors by Sugita and Osaka in the Fast4 format, which includes four-game sets, five-point tiebreakers, no advantage and no let scoring.

In singles, Khachanov beat Sugita 6-4, 6-2 after Osaka overcame illness to beat 15th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5).

After not being able to play at all against the U.S. on Tuesday, Osaka required assistance from a doctor during the second set Thursday but was able to continue to beat the Russian player.

"I just feel like to play like that against someone so well, and not be 100 percent and still win, I should be proud of myself," Osaka said.

Pavlyuchenkova leaves Perth without a singles victory. The 2017 Australian Open quarterfinalist also lost to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic and then CoCo Vandeweghe of the U.S.

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