PERTH: Roger Federer has become the most successful player in Hopman Cup history after leading Switzerland to a 2-1 win in an enthralling final of the mixed teams tournament in Perth Saturday.
In what is tipped to be the final edition of the unique tournament, the best was saved for last as Federer became the first player to win three Hopman Cups, teaming with Belinda Bencic for the duo’s second consecutive title.
For the second year in a row, the Swiss beat the German pairing of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber by claiming a deciding mixed doubles rubber loaded with drama.
It was Switzerland’s fourth title overall, behind only the United States with six. Federer first won the Hopman Cup back in 2001 when he teamed with Martina Hingis.
The 37-year-old gave the Swiss the early ascendancy with a straight sets win against Zverev before Kerber squared the tie by beating a dogged Belinda Bencic to set up the mixed doubles decider.
Federer was a dominant figure in an extraordinary doubles match as the Swiss claimed the abbreviated format 4-0, 1-4, 4-3 (5/4) to clinch the title.
Fittingly, it was Federer who served out the match in the third set tie-break, having been unable to do so earlier in the set, when after an extended rally Zverev dumped a backhand into the net to hand the Swiss victory.
In the men’s singles, Federer bounced back from a November loss to Zverev in London to beat the big-serving German 6-4, 6-2 and make it a clean sweep of his singles matches in Perth for the second year running, less than two weeks before he defends his Australian Open title.
It was a high-octane match, with plenty of big serves and clean winners, but Federer was able to answer everything the 21-year-old threw at him. He broke Zverev in the 10th game of the first set and then tightened the noose on the German, with two more breaks in the second set.
Federer, who also beat Zverev in three sets in last year’s Hopman final, clinched the match with a typically crisp forehand volley. He was pleased to maintain his unbeaten singles record during the week, during which he never dropped his serve.
“I am happy I was able to maintain the good, high-quality tennis I showed all week,” he said.
“It is good to finish on a singles performance like this, I was able to come up with some good serve and volley and it all worked out today.”
Cricket World Cup: Green Shirts must improve fielding!
LAHORE: Pakistan cricket team would have to look into it’s darkest area which is poor fielding, before going into the crunch match of the World Cup against New Zealand on Wednesday at Edgbaston, England.
An uphill task yet to be achieved by Pak team is to strike a victory against Kiwis in the coming match, and win the games against Afghanistan as well as Bangladesh in order to remain in contention for the semi-final qualifications.
Even the success in the coming three matches does not guarantee the green shirts a ticket to the semi-final as it also heavily depends on how the top notch of the World Cup would perform in their remaining matches.
A victory against South Africa, their second in the grand event in England, has pumped up confidence in the Pak team and they seem ready to take on Kiwis challenge in a decent manner and to go all out for a success by showcasing collective efforts,but lax fielding stills remains a worry for the Pak team as it dropped seven catches of South African player but still managed to win, thanks to a master and steady knock by Haris Sohail.
Pakistan team has been left with no choice but not to repeat lapses in fielding, especially in catches when it takes the field against Kiwis.
The sour reality of poor fielding of Pak team and dropping of catches by different players has helped the New Zealanders to establish the status of favorites in the pre-match ratings. According to the pundits of the game, Kiwis have 58 percent of success compared to Pakistan’s 42 percent in tomorrow’s, Wednesday match of the Cup at Agbadastan ground where the match will start at 2.30 pm (PST).
Because of its superb run, New Zealanders are at the top of the points table with eleven points. Kiwis have so far played six matches, winning five games and one match failed to produce any result.
Pak team is among the bottom teams at the table at seventh place which portrays green shirts’ not up to the mark performance in the elite event. Pak team won two matches, lost three as one math failed to produce any result (washed out), out of total six encounters played so far. The greens shirts have five points.
Display of aggressive cricket with precision and responsibility can lead Pak team to success New Zealand in a challenging encounter. Pakistan team has been caught in a difficult situation for their hunt to finish among the top fours teams as semi-finalists.
The ranking difference between Kiwis and Pakistan widely suggests the superiority of the New Zealand team which is the number one team in one-day matches, whereas Pakistan is at a low six number position.
If Pakistan team manages to upset the world number one Kiwis side, then they will be facing Afghanistan challenge on June 29 followed by Bangladesh encounter on July 5 and they have to play all these matches with a do or die approach for achieving desired results.
‘Alive and kicking’ – Pakistan eye unlikely World Cup survival
LONDON: Pakistan find themselves “alive and kicking” in the World Cup despite a disastrous start as coach Mickey Arthur warned his unpredictable team were still gunning for the semi-finals.
The 1992 champions were on the brink of elimination after losing three of their first five games, including a bruising defeat to arch-rivals India.
But Sunday’s 49-run win over South Africa has kept alive Pakistan’s chances of qualifying for the last four.
They now need to win their remaining three matches against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and hope other results go their way.
New Zealand are top of the 10-team table ahead of Australia, India and England, followed by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh with Pakistan in seventh place.
However, England, smarting from their upset against Sri Lanka, will be out of the running for the last four if they lose their remaining three games against Australia, India and New Zealand.
Even table-toppers New Zealand can lose their last three and not qualify — a scenario that is giving Pakistan hope.
“”We are alive and kicking, without a doubt,” said Arthur. “Yes, we are banking on other teams doing us a favour. It probably is — but we’ve got to win three games.”
Arthur said Pakistan, who stunned England earlier in the tournament, can beat any team if they play to their potential.
“When we play our best game, we can beat anybody. Whether that’s New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, our remaining games, or England, we showed.
“We put our three disciplines together, we are as good as any team in this competition. We are very firmly in the World Cup. We win our next three games, we’ll qualify.”
Arthur said his players came out fighting after their defeat to India in Manchester last week.
“Our boys hurt, all of us hurt, incredibly. Guys didn’t sleep much, but they came to the training every day and put in (hard work) in order to try and turn it around, and we got some just reward against South Africa.”
Pakistan still need to hugely improve their sloppy fielding, dropping as many as five catches against South Africa — three of them by Mohammad Amir.
“Our problem is we haven’t put three disciplines together yet in any game,” said Arthur whose team scored 308-7 against South Africa before restricting them to 259-9.
“We bowled well; we batted well; we didn’t field well (against South Africa). So when we put three disciplines together, we’ll be exceptional.
“The closest we’ve got was when we beat England.”
Underlining Pakistan’s mercurial nature, the 14-run win over top-ranked England followed their seven-wicket defeat against the West Indies, when they were shot out for 105 in their opening game.
England’s World Cup nerve faces Australia test
LONDON: Are England just a bunch of “flat-track bullies”? That’s the uncomfortable question facing Eoin Morgan’s side as they look to get their World Cup campaign back on track against arch-rivals Australia.
Tuesday’s match at Lord’s was always going to be a showpiece occasion, but it has been given added spice by England’s 20-run loss to Sri Lanka.
Faced with a relatively modest target of 233 on a tricky Headingley pitch, England slumped to 212 all out.
Despite their second defeat of the pool phase following an earlier loss to Pakistan, the tournament hosts remained in the top four and on course for a semi-final spot.
But England, bidding to win the World Cup for the first time, cannot afford many more slip-ups in their remaining pool fixtures against fellow title contenders Australia, India and New Zealand — teams they have not defeated at a World Cup since 1992.
England’s rise to the top of the one-day international rankings since their woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup has been based on aggressive batting.
They have twice posted a world record score at this level in the intervening four years, including the current mark of 481-6 against Australia at Trent Bridge just over 12 months ago.
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