December 30, 2018 / 2:10 PM / 9 months ago

Impressive Federer gives Switzerland winning start at Hopman Cup

(Reuters) - World number three Roger Federer outplayed Briton Cameron Norrie 6-1 6-1 to secure a winning start for defending champions Switzerland at the Hopman Cup on Sunday.

Gearing up for his Australian Open title defense, Federer overcame three break points in his opening service game before rediscovering his rhythm to race out to a 5-0 lead.

With 18 winners and four aces, Federer wrapped up the opening set in 31 minutes.

Norrie, who had defeated Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Saturday, struggled to match Federer’s crisp stroke-making as the Swiss gave his team a 1-0 lead.

Federer’s playing partner Belinda Bencic beat Katie Boulter 6-2 7-6(0) in the women’s contest to clinch Switzerland’s victory in the round-robin stage.

The 37-year-old Federer has won the last two Australian Open titles after taking part in the mixed-teams tournament in Perth.

“This was a great start but obviously a long way to go here and in Melbourne,” Federer said. “It’s nice that I’m feeling as good as I am and played a wonderful match against Cameron.”

Last year’s runners-up Germany made a triumphant return when Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber recorded hard-fought victories in their singles matches.

Coming off a title win at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, Zverev countered his 45 unforced errors with 39 winners and eight aces to beat Spanish veteran David Ferrer 6-4 4-6 7-6(0).

After the match, Zverev paid tribute to former world number three Ferrer, who will retire from the sport next year.

“All the credit is (to) David, coming back from a set down and break down,” Zverev said.

“He is the greatest fighter, maybe, that we have ever seen in tennis. What he has done in tennis over the past 15 or 20 years has been absolutely amazing.”

World number two Kerber beat Garbine Muguruza 6-2 3-6 6-3 to snap a five-match losing streak against the two-time Grand Slam winner.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon

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