Tsitsipas Shocks Federer To Reach Final At ATP Finals

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates victory against Switzerland’s Roger Federer during the men’s singles semi-final match on day seven of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 16, 2019,./AFP

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas shocked six-time champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final of the ATP Finals in his tournament debut on Saturday.

The Greek sixth seed, 17 years younger than his 38-year-old opponent, beat the Swiss at the Australian Open but had fallen to him twice since then.

Federer was unrecognisable from the player who dominated Novak Djokovic in his final round-robin match, struggling on serve and hitting a total of 26 unforced errors compared with just five against the Serbian.

But Tsitsipas belied his years with a performance full of confidence and grit, saving 11 out of 12 breakpoints during the match.

“I’m so proud of myself today, great performance and once again the people were great,” he said.

“I really enjoyed myself on the court and sometimes in matches like these, you wonder how you recover from difficulties and breakpoint down.

“It is a mental struggle and I’m proud how many I saved today, I was trying not to give an easy time to Roger, he was playing well.”

Coming into the match, the Greek 21-year-old led the tournament in service games won, with 35 out of 37.

Tsitsipas conceded a breakpoint in his first game as cries of “Let’s go, Roger, let’s go” rang around London’s O2 Arena but he survived the scare and broke Federer in the next game, taking advantage of two missed overheads from the Swiss.

Thereafter it was a case of what might have been for Federer, who dropped just six points on his serve in the first set and saw a whopping six break points come and go.

Tsitsipas was forced to dig deep to see out the set in a dramatic 13-minute final game in which he saved two break points and needed seven set points to close it out 6-3.

Federer was in deep trouble when Tsitsipas broke him to love in the third game of the second set but he finally made a breakpoint count — his 10th, to level at 2-2.

Undaunted, Tsitsipas, dominating rallies from the back of the court, broke again straight away with a forehand cross-court winner for a 3-2 lead.

At 5-4 down Federer knew he had to break Tsitsipas for only the second time in the match.

The Greek slipped to 15-40 down but Federer again could not take advantage, spraying a forehand out to give his opponent a match point and he won with a thundering ace.

A year ago, Tsitsipas won the Next Gen ATP Finals. Now, on his tournament debut, he is one match away from winning the season-ending event, featuring the year’s best eight players.

Tsitsipas first broke into the top 100 of the ATP rankings only 25 months ago.

He will play either defending champion Alexander Zverev or fifth seed Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s final.

Federer Drops Out Of Inaugural ATP Cup For Family Reasons

Swiss Roger Federer returns a ball to Australian Alex De Minaur during their final match at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament in Basel on October 27, 2019.
FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the ATP Cup, a new team competition to be held in Australia in January, citing “family reasons”.

“It is with great regret that I am withdrawing from the inaugural ATP Cup event,” Federer said in a statement.

“When I entered the event last month, it was a really difficult decision because it meant less time at home with the family and a fully intense start to the season.

“After much discussion with both my family and my team about the year ahead, I have decided that the extra two weeks at home will be beneficial for both my family and my tennis.”

The world number three, 38 years old, withdrew on Monday from this week’s Masters 1000 tournament in Paris, two hours before the start also saying he needed to rest.

The ATP Cup organisers tweeted: “@rogerfederer announced that he would not play the #ATPCup for family reasons and therefore Switzerland was removed” from the competition.

The ATP Cup is a new competition which competes with the revamped Davis Cup and will be held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from January 3-12.

“It pains me to not be a part of the most exciting new event on the calendar,” Federer said.

“But this is the right thing to do if I want to continue to play for a longer period of time on the ATP Tour.”

“For my Australian fans, I look forward to seeing you all at the Australian Open, fresh and ready to go.”

The Davis Cup will be held November 18-24 in Madrid but Switzerland did not qualify.

Federer will next play at the ATP Tour Finals in London, which get underway on November 10.

Federer Wins Shanghai Masters Opener

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates a point against Albert Ramos of Spain during their second-round men’s singles match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 8, 2019./AFP

 

 Roger Federer claimed victory in his Shanghai Masters opener on Tuesday with a straight-sets win over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The 38-year-old Swiss won 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) and plays Belgium’s 13th seed David Goffin or Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the last 16.

The third-ranked Federer is looking to end the season on a high with a fourth title of the year — although he failed to win a 21st Grand Slam this season.

The 46th-ranked Ramos-Vinolas put up a better fight in the second set, forcing the tie break and taking a 2-0 and then 4-1 lead in it.

But cheered on by his band of local supporters, who held aloft banners proclaiming their hero “superhuman”, Federer won the tie break — and the match — with a forehand smash.

Wimbledon Men’s Final – Five Facts

 

 

Five facts on Sunday’s Wimbledon men’s singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer:

‘Big Three’ dominate

— With Djokovic and Federer in the final, the winner of Sunday’s match will extend the streak of Grand Slam titles won by the ‘Big Three’ of the pair plus Rafael Nadal to 11 straight major titles. Since Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, just five Grand Slam finals have been contested by pairs of players outside the ‘Big Three’.

Golden oldie Federer

— At 37 years 340 days, Federer is bidding to become the oldest player in the Open era to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title.

Ken Rosewall is the only 37-year-old to have won a major singles title in that time – he won the 1972 Australian Open aged 37 years 62 days.

30-somethings still special

— The champion will extend the streak of Grand Slam titles won by players aged 30 or older. The last 12 Grand Slam titles – including at Wimbledon this year – will have been shared between players aged 30 or older.

Djokovic chases fifth Wimbledon title
— Defending champion Djokovic is bidding to win his fifth Wimbledon title and equal Bjorn Borg and Laurie Doherty in fourth place on the all-time list. He is also chasing a 16th career major.

Federer to level Navratilova with nine?

— Federer is bidding to become the second player in history to win nine Wimbledon singles titles after Martina Navratilova who won nine women’s singles. Federer is also after 21st career Grand Slam title.

AFP

Federer Wins 100th Wimbledon Match To Reach 13th Semi-Final

 

Roger Federer racked up his 100th match win at Wimbledon on Wednesday to reach his 13th semi-final at the All England Club and a possible duel with old rival Rafael Nadal.

Eight-time champion Federer recovered from losing the opening set to defeat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 and book his place in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the 45th time.

READ ALSO: Djokovic Enters Ninth Wimbledon Semi-Final

The 37-year-old is also the oldest man to make the last-four of a major since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.

Federer will now face Nadal at Wimbledon for the first time since their epic 2008 final should the two-time champion Spaniard defeat Sam Querrey in his quarter-final.

Federer Survives ‘Emotional’ Tsonga Scare To Reach Last Eight In Halle

Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates after winning against France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during their tennis match at the ATP Open tennis tournament in Halle, western Germany, on June 20, 2019. / AFP

 

Roger Federer admitted that he got lucky after avoiding a major setback in his preparations for Wimbledon in a gruelling 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-5 victory over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the ATP event in Halle on Thursday.

Federer, 37, appeared firmly on course for a place in the quarter-finals at a set and a break up before an impressive comeback from Tsonga took the second-round match to a decider.

“I knew when I gave away that lead that it would be tight. Then it was about holding my nerve,” he said.

“The third set was more of a battle. I tried to stay calm.

“It had a bit of everything: happiness, sadness, frustration. I maybe got a bit lucky, but you need that sometimes.

“It was a bit emotional at the end, which was nice.”

Federer said he felt for the defeated Tsonga, who returned to the tour this year after a seven-month absence due to a knee operation in 2018.

“I was pleased for him when he got an ovation at the end.”

The Swiss, who is eyeing a record tenth career title at Halle this year, faces Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the last eight on Friday.

“Roberto wins his points differently than Jo does. Jo does it with the serve, the power, the variety. Roberto does it with repetition,” said Federer.

– Zverev eases into quarters –
Bautista Agut promised to take the fight to Federer after he eased to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over France’s Richard Gasquet.

READ ALSO: FIFA’s Secretary General To Oversee CAF Reforms

“I feel I am a better player now than in the past. I will have to be aggressive with my return and push him as much as possible,” he said.

The 31-year-old Spaniard has not beaten Federer in eight meetings, and missed out on a chance to play him in last year’s final at Halle after retiring injured in the semi-finals.

“Hopefully I can finish the week better this year. It was bad luck last year because I felt really good on court in every match,” he said.

Home favourite Alexander Zverev also advanced to the quarter-finals with a comfortable 6-3, 7-5 win over American Steve Johnson.

The world number five faces Belgium’s David Goffin in the last eight on Friday.

“I am just happy to be on the court,” said Zverev, who has been struggling with a knee injury this week.

“My knee is very swollen. There are still some moves where it really hurts, but the pain is less than yesterday,” he said.

Elsewhere, Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, who was crowned champion in Stuttgart last week, came from behind to beat compatriot Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and secure a quarter-final clash with third-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov.

Federer, Nadal To Meet In French Open Semi-Final Blockbuster

Nadal and Federer (File photo)

 

Roger Federer set up a mouthwatering French Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal on Tuesday when he defeated Stan Wawrinka in four sets to become the oldest men’s Grand Slam semi-finalist in 28 years.

The 37-year-old Swiss beat his compatriot 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to reach his 43rd major semi-final and eighth at Roland Garros.

Defending champion Nadal, bidding for a 12th title at the French Open, blitzed a weary Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.

Federer trails his head-to-head record with Nadal 23-15 — despite winning their last five matches — and 13-2 on clay.

The Spaniard has a 5-0 stranglehold over Federer at Roland Garros with Nadal winning their most recent Paris clash in 2011 final.

“The complete dream would be to win the tournament,” said Federer. “Other players won’t agree. It will be difficult, but I believe it anyway.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is the oldest man to make the semis at one of the big four tournaments since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open aged 39.

Wawrinka saved 16 of 18 break points in a thrilling encounter, but Federer quickly finished off the match after a rain delay to progress.

It is the third seed’s first appearance at the French Open since 2015 after taking time away from clay to focus on Wimbledon, but he has been in fine form in Paris and has only lost one set so far — as has Nadal.

Nadal, who turned 33 on Monday, is three behind Federer in the all-time list of Grand Slam singles titles heading into their 39th career clash.

It will be Federer’s first Roland Garros semi-final since a defeat by Novak Djokovic in 2012.

The 2009 French Open champion struck 53 winners on Tuesday, as Wawrinka’s 61 unforced errors proved costly.

In a dramatic opening set on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Federer saved four break points before taking it in a tie-break.

Wawrinka had saved 22 of 27 break points in his epic last-16 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas, including all eight in the deciding set, and he was at it again on Tuesday, making it seven from seven to move 3-1 in front in the second.

He suffered from a few jitters when serving to level the match, but took his fourth set point.

The topsy-turvy nature of the encounter continued in the third set, as Federer missed two set points before salvaging two break points himself after the players had earlier traded breaks.

Wawrinka held his nerve to force the quarter-final’s second tie-break, but Federer moved two sets to one in front on his fifth set point.

After the threat of thunderstorms and dark skies forced the players from the court with the fourth set level at 3-3, Federer returned refreshed 80 minutes later and sealed a 23rd victory over Wawrinka in their 26th meeting, despite needing three match points to get over the line.

– Nadal thrashes Nishikori –
Nadal took his record in Paris to 91 wins and just two defeats in a one-sided contest with Nishikori to reach his 31st Slam semi-final.

“It’s a great satisfaction to be in another semi-final, there are lots of emotions,” said Nadal.

“My level has been very good throughout the tournament and I am happy to be able to come back and play another day.”

Tuesday’s win was Nadal’s 11th in 13 meetings against Japanese seventh seed Nishikori who had played back-to-back five-setters to reach his third quarter-final at Roland Garros.

The 29-year-old Nishikori managed just nine winners in total in the first two sets.

As the skies darkened over the city, so did Nishikori’s mood as he slipped 4-1 down in the third.

Even the weather delay didn’t help as Nadal needed just another eight minutes to finish the job.

Johanna Konta became the first British woman in 36 years to reach the semi-finals by sweeping past seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens, last year’s runner-up, 6-1, 6-4 to set up a tie against Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova.

The 28-year-old Konta had not won a match at Roland Garros in any of her previous four visits.

But now she has emulated Jo Durie who was the last British woman to make the French Open semi-finals in 1983.

“I’ve always said that whenever I step out onto the court, I’m always going to have a chance. I’m always going to have a shot,” said Konta.

The 19-year-old Vondrousova battled past Croatian 31st Petra Martic 7-6 (7/1), 7-5.

“She had beaten me four times before but I think Roland Garros must be my lucky place,” said the Czech after securing victory on a fourth match point.

Djokovic Tightens Grip On Top Of Rankings, Federer Slides

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after a point against Spain’s Rafael Nadal during the men’s singles final on day 14 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2019.
Peter PARKS / AFP

 

Novak Djokovic strengthened his grip at the top of the men’s ATP tennis ranking Monday following his destruction of Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.

An outclassed Nadal, beaten in straight sets in just over two hours, held on to the second spot in the rankings while Roger Federer slipped from third to six places.

Federer, the defending champion, was eliminated in the round of 16 by Greek giant-killer Stefanos Tsitsipas

Alexander Zverev replaces Federer in third position ahead of Juan Martin Del Potro, fourth, who missed the Australian Open.

Despite his early elimination in Melbourne, South African Kevin Anderson, a Wimbledon finalist last year, moved up a spot into fifth.

READ ALSO: Djokovic Wins Seventh Australian Open

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, meanwhile, rises two places to seventh after reaching the quarter-finals in Melbourne.

Tsitsipas, eliminated by Nadal in the semi-finals, jumped three places and is knocking on the door of the top 10 in 12th place.

Latest ATP ranking:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10,955 pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8,320

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6,475 (+1)

5. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) 5,060 (+1)

6. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4,845 (+1)

6. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,600 (-3)

7. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,110 (+2)

8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3,960

9. John Isner (USA) 3,155 (+1)

10. Marin Cilic (CRO) 3,140 (-3)

11. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2,880

12. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 2,805 (+3)

13. Borna Coric (CRO) 2,605 (-1)

14. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,250 (+3)

15. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,225 (-2)

16. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 2,000 (+3)

17. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 1,955 (+14)

18. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 1,955 (+6)

19. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 1,870 (-1)

20. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 1,835 (-4)

AFP

Federer, Kerber Crash Out Of Australian Open As Nadal Powers On

Roger Federer (L) and Angelique Kerber could not make it to the quarters of the Australian Open. AFP Photos

 

Defending champion Roger Federer was stunned by fiery Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas who ended his bid for a record seventh Australian Open Sunday on a day of upsets that also saw second seed Angelique Kerber crash out.

The Swiss master caved in under the energy and pressure of a man 17 years his junior to tumble out 6-7 (11/13), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) in the last 16 on Rod Laver Arena.

World number two Kerber was also sensationally bundled out by a woman playing the event for the first time, with American Danielle Collins humiliating the Wimbledon champion 6-0, 6-2 in under an hour.

The man Federer beat in last year’s final, sixth seed Marin Cilic, was also sent packing by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who now plays Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.

Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Shaparova was another to fall, but there was no such drama for a rampant Rafael Nadal who powered into the last eight with a straight sets win over Tomas Berdych.

Federer was gunning for a 21st Grand Slam title but had a battle on his hands from off against the 20-year-old, touted among the new generation of young stars as a future champion.

“I’m the happiest man on Earth right now, I cannot describe it,” said the 14th seed, who is the first Greek in history to reach the quarter-finals of a Slam.

“I’ve been idolising him (Federer) since the age of six. It was a dream come true for me just being on Rod Laver facing him. Winning at the end, I can’t describe it.”

The Swiss great was gracious in defeat, saying “I lost to a better player who was playing very well, who hung in there and stayed calm”.

Wimbledon winner and 2016 champion Kerber, the bookies’ favourite along with Serena Williams after defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was ousted early, was no match for Collins, ranked 35 in the world.

Collins is little known after playing much of her tennis in the US college system and was making her debut in the main draw at Melbourne Park. She had never won a Grand Slam match before this year.

“I may not have won a Grand Slam match before this but I tell you, it’s going to keep happening,” said the 25-year-old. “I better have many more of these.”

Chipping away

Men’s second seed Nadal, returning from foot surgery, barrelled past former world number four Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) as he stays on track for an 18th Grand Slam title.

“I always say the same when I am back for injury,” said the Spaniard. “I don’t expect negative or positive things. I just try to do my work every day and just be with (the) right attitude every single day.”

He will play world number 39 Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-finals after the young American celebrated his 21st birthday by grinding his way past Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (1/7), 7-5.

Hometown hero Ashleigh Barty also made the last eight after muscling past Sharapova and will next meet Petra Kvitova.

Sharapova claimed her biggest scalp since completing a drugs ban in 2017 when she rolled Wozniacki in round three and looked on track to carry the momentum forward.

The 30th seed won the first set but then fell to pieces, eventually succumbing 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

“I knew I had to keep chipping away — in a sense, trust the work we’ve done. I know that I can match it with the best,” said Barty, seeded 15.

Next up for the diminutive 22-year-old is Kvitova, who beat Barty in the final of the warm-up Sydney International this month.

The two-time Wimbledon champion beat 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 6-1 to match her best performance at a major since being slashed in a terrifying attack at her home in late 2016 that left her with lasting nerve damage in her fingers.

AFP

Tsitsipas Eyes Up Federer After Rollicking Victory

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates his victory against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili during their men’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. Greg Wood / AFP

 

Fiery Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas was looking forward to a last-16 clash with Roger Federer after overcoming a mini-meltdown to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 at the Australian Open Friday.

“It will be amazing playing Roger on Rod Laver,” said Tsitsipas of the Swiss great.

The 14th seed, touted among the new generation of young stars as a future champion, came through the third round after being docked his first serve for exceeding the shot clock at a crucial moment while facing a break point in the third set.

The powerful Georgian Basilashvili seeded 19, took advantage on the second delivery to break back causing Tsitsipas to unload a verbal tirade in the direction of his coaching team in his player box.

French umpire Alexandre Robein clearly understood enough of Greek and English vernacular to slap the 20-year-old with a code violation for an audible obscenity.

But backed by a raucous Greek contingent in a rowdy atmosphere on Margaret Court Arena, he recovered his composure to win the set in a tense tiebreak.

He cruised through the fourth set to become the first Greek man to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam twice, after reaching the same stage at Wimbledon last year.

“It’s good to have such support and exciting to have an atmosphere like this,” said Tsitsipas.

“I feel like I’m playing at home, I never had so many Greek — and Aussie — people support me.”

AFP

Federer ‘Shocked’, Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Murray Retirement Bombshell

Andy Murray of Great Britain breaks down during a press conference in Melbourne on January 11, 2019, ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. William WEST / AFP

 

Roger Federer admitted Sunday he was shocked that tennis was to lose “legend” Andy Murray this year while long-time friend Novak Djokovic said the bombshell news had “hurt” him.

Both paid tribute to the former world number one on the eve of the year’s first Grand Slam with Federer adding that the Scot should be “incredibly proud” of what he had achieved.

Murray on Friday admitted that his chronic hip injury had not been eased by surgery a year ago.

He then choked back tears and broke down as he revealed that he hoped to end his storied career at Wimbledon, but the Australian Open beginning Monday could be his last event because the constant pain was so bad.

“I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we’re going to lose him at some point,” Federer told reporters.

“But we’re going to lose everybody at some point. It’s just now that it’s definite,” he added, acknowledging that the era of the “Big Four” — himself, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Murray was drawing inexorably to a close.

“Of course, it hits us top guys hard because we know Andy very well,” the world number three said of the three-time Grand Slam champion and double Olympic gold medal winner.

“He’s a good guy, Hall of Famer, legend. He won everything he wanted to win. Anybody would substitute their career with his. He’s a great guy.”

World number one Djokovic played Murray in a practice match three days ago and said it was obvious that there were serious problems.

“You didn’t need to be on the court to notice that he’s struggling, that he’s not moving as well as he normally does,” said Djokovic, 31, who is just a week younger than Murray.

“We’ve seen so many years of Andy Murray being one of the fittest guys on the tour, running around the court, getting always an extra ball back.

“I think to that extent, we are kind of similar. Our trajectory to the professional tennis world was pretty much similar,” added the Serb, who faces American Mitchell Krueger in the first round on Tuesday.

“His birthday is one week before mine. We’ve grown together playing junior events. We played lots of epic matches.

“Obviously to see him struggle so much and go through so much pain, it’s very sad and it hurts me as his longtime friend, colleague, rival.

“I will carry beautiful memories from the court and off the court. It’s just sad.”

Murray has won Wimbledon twice and Federer hoped the Scot could keep playing long enough to be able to say goodbye on his favourite famous grass courts.

“Of course, I hope that he can play a good Australian Open and he can keep playing beyond that, really finish the way he wants to at Wimbledon,” said 20-time Grand Slam champion, who begins his Australian Open title defence Monday against Denis Istomin.

“It’s a tough one, but one down the road he can look back on and be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved.”

Murray was the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years and will be remembered for battling his way to world number one in 2016 during a golden era for men’s tennis alongside Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.

Murray faces a first-round clash Monday against in-form Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded 22, who beat Djokovic on his way to winning the Qatar Open earlier this month.

AFP

Federer Beats Tiafoe, Looks Forward To Playing Serena

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return against Frances Tiafoe of the US during their men’s singles match on day four of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth January 1, 2019.
TONY ASHBY / AFP

 

Roger Federer dispatched Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday in a match which served as an appetiser for the Swiss great’s first ever meeting on the court with Serena Williams.

Federer beat Tiafoe, 6-4, 6-1, to put Switzerland 1-0 up in their group tie against the United States in the Hopman Cup.

Tiafoe stayed with Federer until the 12th game of the first set when the Swiss broke to win the first set. From there Federer cruised to victory.

As he spoke on the court, Federer was already looking forward to the next match.

“What a thrill it is to play Serena here tonight,” he told the crowd in Perth.

Federer and compatriot Belinda Bencic are defending their title at the mixed teams event.

Williams and Bencic followed the men on court for the women’s singles.

Only the group winners advance to the final, so the closing doubles could ultimately decide the winner of a group that also contains Greece and Britain.

Even if Bencic wins, Williams and Federer planned to take the court for the mixed doubles. That would be the first time the two 37-year-olds have ever played each other.

The mixed doubles are contested in a short-set format with tiebreaks at 3-3 but that still means two matches in a day for the four players.

“I’ll stay on the bike and keep the engine on,” Federer said.

“I had a really late night last night on New Year’s Eve,” he said, adding after a pause: “No I’m joking.”

AFP