Federer ends 2017 with win

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Dec 2017 09:39:23


PERTH,

Dec 30,

(AFP),

ROGER Federer ended a memorable 2017 the way he started it with a singles win at the mixed teams Hopman Cup here on Saturday. His straight-sets victory over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita showed Federer was sharp for his upcoming Australian Open title defence, capping off an extraordinary year in which he claimed two Grand Slam titles and climbed back to number two in world rankings.

It also gave Switzerland the lead in their Group B tie against the Japanese, before Belinda Bencic sealed the tie for the Swiss with a straight-sets win over Naomi Osaka. Federer started his 2017 campaign in Perth and given the success which followed, the 36-year-old was keen to replicate his preparation for Melbourne by returning to the Hopman Cup.

Speaking after his 6-4, 6-3 win over the 40th-ranked Sugita, the Swiss star said he was entering the new season more confident in his game than the last.“I feel much more in a rhythm,” he said.“Last year, I was like I hope I’m going to be able to hit my first serves, and I hope it’s going to work out as much as it did in the practice. I think all those question marks aren’t really there this time around, which is a nice thing.“I think it was a great start.”

While a number of his main rivals, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and Milos Raonic, have battled fitness issues this year, Federer said his body was in perfect shape heading into 2018. “I’m healthy and had a great off season,” the 19-time Grand Slam champion said. “The body’s great, it couldn’t be better, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Djokovic pulls out of Qatar Open

FORMER world number one Novak Djokovic on Saturday withdrew from next week’s Qatar Open, casting doubt on his participation at the Australian Open later in January.Qatar is the second tournament Djokovic has pulled out in as many days due to a niggling elbow injury. The 12-time Grand Slam champion was top seed in Doha, but in a statement he said he would not be able to defend the title he won by beating Andy Murray last year.

His withdrawal comes just 24 hours after the injury forced him to drop out of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
“Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for the better since yesterday,” said Djokovic.