05 Jan 2018

Germany ends long wait for Hopman Cup Final spot

News Article

Photo: SMP ImagesAngelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev (GER)

Germany will contest the Hopman Cup Final for the first time in 23 years after edging past Australia in a thrilling contest in Perth on Friday night.

The Germans, who last featured in the title decider when Boris Becker and Anke Huber guided Germany to a 3-0 triumph over Ukraine in 1995, won a thrilling deciding mixed doubles as Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis and Daria Gavrilova 1-4 4-1 4-3(3).

Kerber gave Germany the perfect start when she romped to a 61 62 victory over Gavrilova to start Friday’s evening session, but Kokkinakis hit back with a stunning 57 76(4) 64 triumph over Zverev.

The 21-year-old Australian matched Zverev for power and raised him for flair, striking 40 crushing winners, but most importantly held his nerve when it mattered – prevailing in a thrilling encounter lasting two hours and 41 minutes.

That left Germany’s hopes of a place in the final resting on the outcome of the mixed doubles, and Australia looked set to complete a major upset when they took the first set – but Zverev and Kerber hit back in a tense finale.

Had Australia managed a surprise win with nothing left to play for in Perth, Belgium would have earned a place in the final, but as it was the Germans held firm - with the in-form Kerber taking all the plaudits.

“I almost screwed it up by myself,” admitted Zverev afterwards. “Angie played unbelievable in both of her matches. She’s the reason we are in the final.”

A delighted Kerber embraced Zverev on court after winning a feisty mixed encounter that saw the former Australian Open champion take a painful blow to the hip from a Kokkinakis forehand. But the bruise, though “still a little bit painful”, didn’t dampen her excitement at earning a place in the final.

“It’s just amazing. The mixed was so amazing,” Kerber enthused in the on court interview. “We are really happy to be in the finals against Switzerland.”

Earlier, Belgium, who would have progressed to the final had Australia defeated Germany, ended its week on a high when Elise Mertens defeated Eugenie Bouchard 64 64 and David Goffin overcame Vasek Pospisil 62 64.