Germany began their bid to win the 2018 Hopman Cup with a 2-1 win over Belgium in Group A at Australia's Perth Arena on Monday. A strong pairing of Alexander Zverev Jr. and Angelique Kerber was ultimately too good for David Goffin and Elise Mertens.
Here's how the win unfolded:
Germany 2-1 Belgium
- Angelique Kerber bt. Elise Mertens 7-6 (6), 7-6 (1)
- David Goffin bt. Alexander Zverev 3-6, 3-6
- Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev bt. David Goffin and Elise Mertens 4-2, 4-3 (2)
Japan vs. USA: Naomi Osaka vs. CoCo Vandeweghe, Yuichi Sugita vs. Jack Sock
Osaka and Sugita vs. Vandeweghe and Sock
Russia vs. Switzerland: Karen Khachanov vs. Roger Federer, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Belinda Bencic
Khachanov and Pavlyuchenkova vs. Federer and Bencic
Full schedule available on HopmanCup.com.
The tie started well for Germany when Kerber survived against a determined Mertens. Tiebreaks were needed in each set, but it was the former who took them both, despite Mertens earning a vital break point in the sixth game of the opening set.
There was little to choose between the two before the second set started, as the tournament's official Twitter account detailed:
Hopman Cup @hopmancup
.@AngeliqueKerber charging forward in a tense opening set, 7-6(6). Only two points separating these two elite athletes with #Kerber at 47 and #Mertens at 45 overall. #HopmanCup https://t.co/aiwIuCVFwM2018-1-1 10:33:46
Things stayed close in the second, but Kerber made easier work of this tiebreak to finally get Germany off the mark.
Belgium needed a response and had Goffin to thank for it after the 27-year-old schooled Zverev during a straight-sets win.
An assured display eased Goffin through the first set, with the statistics showing the importance of his two break points:
Hopman Cup @hopmancup
Calm under any pressure imposed from #Zverev, the quietly efficient David #Goffin takes the first set 6-3 in 35 minutes #TeamBelgium v #TeamGermany #HopmanCup https://t.co/nNfCXycLFh2018-1-1 12:29:29
World No. 4 Zverev couldn't settle in the next set, even though he opened up a two-game lead. However, another vital break of serve helped Goffin reel off four wins without reply.
The job was soon completed and Belgium were on the board.
If Germany felt the pressure, neither Kerber nor Zverev showed it during the mixed doubles decider. It was 20-year-old Zverev who played with a confidence belying his tender years, helping to break the Goffin serve in the opening game.
Germany proved the quality and potential of their team by edging past a highly capable Belgium duo. It's something Kerber and Zverev are talented enough to continue against Canada and Australia.
Meanwhile, Belgium need an emphatic response when Goffin and Mertens face the hosts on Wednesday.