Australia beaten by Germany at Hopman Cup
Germany reached an unbeatable 2-0 lead over Australia after Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev beat Ash Barty and Matt Ebden respectively in the singles rubbers in Perth.
Australia’s Hopman Cup titles hopes are over after Ash Barty and Matt Ebden fell to singles losses against Germany on Friday night.
The stakes couldn’t have been higher for the Group A tie, with the winner securing a spot in the final against Switzerland and the loser eliminated.
Australia were on the verge of exiting after Barty lost 6-4 6-4 to world No.2 Angelique Kerber. And Germany’s spot in the final was secured when Alexander Zverev beat Ebden 6-4 6-3 in 76 minutes.
Switzerland’s defending champions Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic await Germany in the final, a repeat of last year’s decider when Switzerland secured the title with a win in the mixed doubles against Kerber and Zverev.
“It’s nice to be back in a final. It’s nice to play Switzerland as well,” Zverev said. “We lost a very close match last year, and we definitely wanted to get there and compete for the title again.
“And that’s why me and Angie decided after last year’s final that we are definitely going to come back here to Perth.”
Barty is ranked 13 places below Kerber, but entered her singles match having beaten the German in their previous meeting.
.@AngeliqueKerber produces some of her finest tennis to dismiss Ash Barty 6-4 6-4.
— Hopman Cup (@hopmancup) January 4, 2019
However, a bad service game to Barty in the seventh game of the opening set handed the early ascendancy to Kerber.
Kerber won the first set in 32 minutes, and snared an early break in the second set.
Barty had four chances to break back in the fourth game of the second set, but Kerber battled valiantly to hold serve.
“It was a difficult one,” Barty said post-match. “I didn’t give myself much of a look in on return games. And also just one poor service game in the first set – there wasn’t really much in it in the end.
“We’ve split our matches in the past, so there hasn’t been much in any of our matches before. It’s usually who can execute a little bit better on the day. Today was Angie’s day.”
Kerber, who has now won all seven of her Hopman Cup singles matches since making her debut at the mixed-teams tournament last year, was happy with her performance.
“It was a good match. I played well and served good. Ash is always a tricky opponent,” she said.
“She’s always pushing me to play my best tennis in important moments, and today it was the same. I think it was two or three points in the second set which decided the match.”
Zverev simply had too much firepower for Ebden, who was forced to scrap each service game.
Australia salvaged some pride with victory in the mixed doubles rubber.