30 Dec 2017

Strong starts for USA and Switzerland in Perth

News Article

Photo: SMP ImagesRoger Federer (SUI)

Teams USA and Switzerland wasted no time in scoring their first wins of the 30th edition of the Mastercard Hopman Cup with both nations sealing victories after the singles rubbers.

In the opening tie of the day, CoCo Vandeweghe overcame Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 63 63 before Jack Sock closed out the win with a 64 16 63 triumph over Karen Khachanov.

The Russians battled back in the mixed doubles, winning 34(3) 41 42 to make the final scoreline 2-1 to the Americans.

“They were coming up with some pretty good chants for me the whole match, so I figured I’d give out a few socks!

“I think I play my best tennis when I’m relaxed, joking and engaging with the crowd, my girlfriend or my coach, whoever it is. I just want to have a good time out there, that’s my kind of style.”

USA, who lost in last year’s Hopman Cup final against France, are determined to prove a point this time round in Western Australia.

“I had a lot of chances in the final against France last year,” reflected Sock. “I think I had match point against Richard Gasquet. We take this tournament very seriously and obviously that one hurt, being so close.

“I’m very fortunate to have the chance to come back and hopefully CoCo and I can go one step better this year.”

In the evening session at the Perth Arena, all eyes were on Roger Federer in his match-up against Japan’s Yuichi Sugita and the Swiss maestro responded with a glorious performance to win 64 63.

Federer’s team mate, Belinda Bencic, overcame a spirited display from Naomi Osaka to clinch the match 75 63 and with it opened Switzerland’s account in this year’s mixed team event.

“This year I feel much more in a rhythm,” Federer said after his match against Sugita. “You get to break point or the moment where you have to serve the first time of the year, and it’s a normal thing.

“Whereas last year, I was like, ‘Ooh, I hope I’m going to be able to hit my first serves, and I hope it’s going to work out as much as it did in the practice’.

“I think all those question marks aren’t really there this time around, which is a nice thing.

“I’m just very happy I was able to have a good level today, and stay calm under pressure. I had some good moments moving forward and playing up in the court. That’s how I want to play for the year. I think it was a great start.”