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Hopman Cup Day 4 live streaming, preview and tips: Roger Federer vs Serena Williams for the first time as Switzerland face USA in historic showdown

Andrew Hendrie in News 31 Dec 2018
  • Switzerland vs USA is live from the Hopman Cup at 5.30pm local time on Tuesday (9.30am GMT)
  • Federer and Serena set to face each other for the first time
Roger Federer (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

History will be made at the Hopman Cup on New Year’s Day as Roger Federer and Serena Williams play against each other for the first time, with defending champions Switzerland and USA squaring off in Perth.

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Switzerland vs USA, live from Perth Arena at 5.30pm local time (9.30am GMT)

Roger Federer (SUI) vs Frances Tiafoe (USA)

Gearing up for his upcoming Australian Open title defence, Roger Federer couldn’t have dreamed of a better start in his first match of the season on Sunday, cruising past Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-1 6-1 and signalling his intent for a three-peat at Melbourne Park in January.

Federer has participated at the Hopman Cup in the last two seasons and gone on to win the Australian Open both times - but the Swiss legend knows there is a truckload of work to do before he can start thinking about a potential seventh title in Melbourne.

“This was a great start but obviously there’s a long way to go here and in Melbourne,” the world No 3 said. “It’s nice I’m feeling as good as I am and played a wonderful match against Cameron.”

At 37 years of age, Federer is showing no signs of slowing down, even declaring he could possibly play the clay-court season in 2019 depending on his results over the first quarter of the year. It was always going to be near-impossible for Federer to emulate his incredible 2017 season in which he won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, Indian Wells and Miami among other titles, with the Swiss suffering a handful of uncharacteristic losses and failing to make it past the quarter-finals of another slam following his Australian Open triumph.

Roger Federer (Photo by TONY ASHBY/AFP/Getty Images)
Federer is very familiar with his opponent on New Year’s Day, despite Frances Tiafoe’s tender age of 20, with the pair playing three times in 2017 when the American was just a teenager. Federer won all three matches, but Tiafoe almost sprung a surprise at the U.S. Open in the opening round, stretching the 20-time major champion to five sets before surrendering.

Tiafoe put together a superb 2018 season, registering a 28-26 record as he captured a first ATP title in Delray Beach, along with finishing runner-up in Estoril, reaching the Round of 16 in Miami and the third round of Wimbledon, finishing the year at No. 39 in the world.

Tiafoe did however fall off towards the end of the season (which is normal for young players as they continue to come to grips with tour life), failing to win back-to-back matches since the beginning of August and failing to make it out of the group in the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, suffering a defeat to eventual champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the process.

Considering there were absolutely no signs of rust from Federer in his first match, it’s tough to see the Swiss losing this one. Tiafoe has more explosiveness and weapons than Norrie, but he’s still trying to find the right balance in his game and suffers from inconsistency. Federer should be too solid and composed in this one.

Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs Serena Williams (USA)

At the time of writing, Serena Williams hasn’t completed her first tie for USA against Greece on New Year’s Eve, but the American still has recent match play under her belt, falling in a match tiebreak to sister Venus at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship last week.

A champion at the Hopman Cup in 2003 and 2008 (and also a runner-up in 2014), Serena will be determined to make it a hat-trick of titles in what could very possibly be the last edition of the tournament, with the ATP Cup set to take its place from 2020.

Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Already being labeled as the outright favourite for the upcoming Australian Open title, Serena is searching for wins, match play and confidence as she tries to make her third consecutive Grand Slam final after runner-up finishes at Wimbledon to Angelique Kerber and the U.S. Open to Naomi Osaka.

Meanwhile, Belinda Bencic got her 2019 season off to a winning start, toppling Great Britain’s Katie Boulter 6-2 7-5 before teaming up with Federer to win the mixed doubles and give Switzerland a 3-0 victory.

Bencic, a former World No. 7, showcased extremely promising form at the beginning of the 2018 season, linking up with Federer to win the Hopman Cup before going on to upset fifth seed Venus Williams in the opening round of the Australian Open. However, apart from a runner-up finish at the end of the season in Luxembourg, that was pretty much as good as it got for Bencic, who struggled to put together a sustained run of good form, while she once again was forced onto the sidelines with injury. However, the Swiss is still just 21 years of age, and if she can remain healthy, Bencic has plenty of time to claw her way back into the top 10 and challenge for major titles.

Bencic actually beat Serena during an incredible run to the 2015 Rogers Cup title, where she overcame six Grand Slam finalists on the trot. Bencic hasn’t been able to replicate that sort of form since, mostly due to injuries, with Serena winning their last clash in straight sets at the 2017 Australian Open. Serena obviously starts as favourite, but Bencic is equipped with the savvy and consistent game that could trouble the American if she isn’t operating near the peak of her powers.

Mixed doubles: Roger Federer/Belinda Bencic vs Serena Williams/Frances Tiafoe

This is the match everyone is waiting for, with arguably the two greatest male and female players in history facing each other for the first - and likely - last time.

"It's very exciting for both of us," Federer said. "I hope a lot of tennis fans will tune in to watch the match, because it's going to be one time and probably never again in this kind of a competition.
"I admire everything she's done on and off the court. We can relate to one another now even more so for being parents."

Regardless of the result or its exhibition status, this once-in-a-lifetime match will generate worldwide interest and command global attention. Federer and Bencic have more experience and of course teamed up to win the Hopman Cup last season, so they perhaps start as slight favourites, but anything can happen in fast4 mixed doubles, so don’t be surprised at any result!

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Hopman Cup Day 4 live streaming, preview and tips: Roger Federer vs Serena Williams for the first time as Switzerland face USA in historic showdown

History will be made at the Hopman Cup on New Year’s Day as Roger Federer and Serena Williams play against each other for the first time, with defending champions Switzerland and USA squaring off in Perth.

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