Germany through to Hopman Cup final vs. Switzerland
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 06, 2018 06:37 AM
FILE - Angelique Kerber of Germany returns a shot to Naomi Osaka of Japan during their first round match of the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber won her singles and contributed heavily in the deciding mixed doubles victory that gave Germany a 2-1 win over Australia and a spot in the Hopman Cup final against Switzerland.
Kerber beat Australia's Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 on Friday to put Germany within one win of reaching the final against Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic.
But Thanasi Kokkinakis edged Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in a close tussle to level for Australia, meaning Germany needed to win the doubles to advance.
A Germany loss to Australia in the last of the group matches would have meant three teams ended with 2-1 records, and that would have sent Belgium into Saturday's championship decider at Germany's expense.
Kokkinakis retained momentum in the first set of the doubles, but Kerber remained composed despite a succession of unforced errors from Zverev — and taking the full brunt of a Kokkinakis forehand on her hip — to steer Germany to a 1-4, 4-1, 4-3 (3) in the Fast 4 format.
Zverev praised two-time major winner Kerber's performance, admitting he almost lost the match for Germany.
"Angie played unbelievable in both of her matches — she's the reason we're in the final," Zverev said. "I'm going to give all the credit to her. I didn't play my best today — luckily I have an unbelievable partner."
Germany has won the Hopman Cup twice, but not since Boris Becker and Anke Huber teamed up in 1995.
Earlier, Belgium won its second match and handed Canada its third consecutive defeat with singles victories by David Goffin and Elise Mertens.
Mertens beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-4, before Goffin defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4.