Federer leads Switzerland into Hopman Cup final

The world number two maintained an unblemished record in five clashes with the eighth-ranked Sock, beating the American in straight sets as Switzerland beat the United States 3-0 to advance to Saturday’s final. Their opponent will be decided on Friday, with Germany and Belgium the leading contenders. Federer had not dropped a set in four previous matches against Sock, but had to produce some of his very best to keep the American at bay and give the Swiss the early lead in the Group B tie. Belinda Bencic’s superb form continued when the world number 74 then upset 10th ranked CoCo Vandeweghe to secure the tie and put the Swiss into the final. The dead mixed doubles rubber was extremely light-hearted, with the Swiss winning in straight sets. Federer is aiming for a second Hopman Cup title, having also won the tournament back in 2001, before he had won an ATP singles title, when he partnered with Martina Hingis. The 36-year-old also opened his 2017 campaign at the Hopman Cup, following which he ended an almost four-year Grand Slam drought with a shock fifth triumph at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Speaking after the 7-6 (7/5) 7-5 win over Sock, the 19-time Grand Slam champion said where he was uncertain heading into 2017, as he returned from a knee injury, he enters 2018 brimming with confidence. “Yes, you could say that,” he said when asked if his confidence was higher than at the same time last year. “I think I’m…

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