‘Flawless’ Federer does it easy
ASHLEIGH Barty’s hopes of going one better than her final defeat at last year’s Sydney International have been hit by a nightmare draw this week.
Australia’s top-ranked woman faces 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round, and if she wins she will then have to play world No.1 Simona Halep. Barty reached last year’s Sydney final, where she was beaten by Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who defeated her in the Hopman Cup in Perth.
Fellow Australian women hopefuls Samantha Stosur and Ajla Tomljanovic also have tough first-round encounters.
Stosur takes on former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, with the winner likely to face US Open champion and third-seed Naomi Osaka in round two.
Tomljanovic faces Italian Camila Giorgi, who made the semi-final in Sydney last year before losing to Kerber.
Wildcard entrant Daria Gavrilova will face a qualifier in the opening round. SWITZERLAND are just one win away from defending their Hopman Cup crown after Roger Federer defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-2 last night.
Federer was simply irresistible in front of a near sellout crowd at RAC Arena, countering the power of Zverev with classy stroke play and unpredictable deftness.
Zverev unleashed a series of powerful serves, some of which exceeded 220km/h. But Federer snared the crucial break in the 10th game of the first set, before breaking the young German again early in the second set on the way to the 70minute win.
World No.2 Angelique Kerber needs to beat Belinda Bencic in the women’s singles rubber to keep Germany’s title hopes alive.
Federer has been flawless since arriving in Perth, beating Frances Tiafoe, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Cameron Norrie, and Zverev in straight sets. “I’m happy I’m feeling this good and playing as well as I am,” Federer said. “It’s good to finish on a singles performance like this.”