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Germany close in on Hopman Cup final

Germany's powerful pairing of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber were made to fight hard, but they came up trumps in their Hopman Cup clash with France.

Germany close in on Hopman Cup final

Germany's powerful pairing of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber were made to fight hard, but they came up trumps in their Hopman Cup clash with France.

ANGELIQUE KERBER of Germany celebrates winning match point against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park Australia.
ANGELIQUE KERBER of Germany celebrates winning match point against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park Australia. Picture:Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Germany are one step closer to securing a spot in the Hopman Cup final after Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev ground out tough singles wins in Perth.

Kerber fought back from a set down on Wednesday to beat France's Alize Cornet 5-7 6-2 6-4, before Zverev beat Lucas Pouille 6-3 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 in 129 minutes.


Germany won their opening tie against Spain 3-0, and will guarantee themselves a spot in Saturday's final with victory over Australia on Friday night.

Even a 2-1 loss in that tie might be enough for Germany to sneak through depending on other results.

Switzerland are favourites to progress from Group B after beating the US and Great Britain in their opening two ties.

The Swiss pairing of Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Zverev and Kerber in last year's final, and a re-match looms strong.

Federer has been in ominous form in Perth yet again, brushing aside Brit Cameron Norrie and American Frances Tiafoe in straight sets.

Zverev blew a match point in a tense second-set tiebreak against Pouille, but he regained his composure in the third to seal the win.

"Lucas fought well and played really well in the important moments," Zverev said.

"He's a very tough opponent, and I think he's going to do well in the Australian Open."

Zverev has now beaten world No.32 Pouille and veteran David Ferrer at this summer's Hopman Cup.

The 21-year-old feels the mixed-teams tournament is the ideal preparation for his Australian Open tilt.

"You want to play tough opponents, you want to play the best players before a grand slam," Zverev said.

"I've played two very good players, and I'm happy to get those matches under my belt.

"I just hope to keep going with Angie, and we'll see what else we can do (in this tournament)."

Kerber committed plenty of errors during her singles match, but her power game eventually proved too much to handle for world No.45 Cornet.

The world No.2 produced the highlight of the first set with a between-the-legs shot that set up a winner

But it was Cornet who snared a vital late break to take the first set.

Both players struggled to hold serve in the second, but Kerber's power game finally wore down Cornet.

Kerber snared another break early in the third set, and held on from that point to seal victory in 123 minutes.

"She is a fighter," Kerber said of Cornet.

"I'm just trying to find my game, my rhythm and trying new things on court too. I was exploring the tennis court.

"For me it's always good to have a long, close match."

AAP


AAP




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