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Hopman Cup round-up: Federer impresses in season opener

Shashwat Jain
CONTRIBUTOR
News
264   //    01 Jan 2018, 03:50 IST

Roger Federer, current world number two, impressed one and all during his first match of the new tennis season. He defeated Japan's Yuichi Sugita in straight sets at the Perth Arena, while looking extremely fit and agile throughout.

2018 Hopman Cup - Day 1
2018 Hopman Cup - Day 1

The 36-year-old managed to time his shots really well, both off the forehand and backhand too. His serve, as usual, caused his opponent plenty of problems - Sugita tried hard but simply was not good enough to contend with the Swiss' quality in truth.

The highlight of the day from Roger's perspective was definitely his improved backhand stroke play, which caused him a few problems towards the end of the 2017 campaign - including the US Open.

All in all, it was a vintage Federer performance and one that will stand him in good stead for the future. After the match, he was quick to reveal that he feels much more in a rhythm. That will come as great news for his supporters across the world, who are undoubtedly eager to see him win his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in a few weeks' time.

As his rivals struggle with injuries, Federer has a great opportunity to retain his title in Melbourne - provided he keeps up with his sizzling stroke play, which was on display for all to marvel at against Sugita at the Hopman Cup.

It's still early days however, with Federer having a couple of singles matches still to play during the tournament before the final encounter. Whether he can repeat his high performance levels and continue where he left off remains to be seen.

Belinda Bencic won her match against Naomi Osaka too, ensuring a victory for Switzerland collectively over their Japanese opponents. After her singles win, it was soon time for mixed doubles with Roger her partner - dubbed "Benderer". They recovered from a set down to prevail in a thrilling finish which entertained the crowds.

2018 Hopman Cup - Day 1
2018 Hopman Cup - Day 1

Earlier, Jack Sock looked in good form as he beat Russia's Karen Khachanov in a three-set victory. He produced his best tennis towards the end of the match, winning the third set convincingly too. Coco Vandeweghe prevailed with a two-set win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, ensuring the US had a perfect start to the Hopman Cup.

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Shashwat Jain
CONTRIBUTOR
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