Roger Federer topples Serena Williams in first ever meeting

Switzerland seal 2-1 win over the US after Hopman Cup mixed doubles clash in Perth

Serena Williams and Roger Federer take a selfie after their mixed doubles meeting in Perth. Photograph: Tony Ashby/AFP/Getty

Serena Williams and Roger Federer take a selfie after their mixed doubles meeting in Perth. Photograph: Tony Ashby/AFP/Getty

 

Roger Federer emerged triumphant from a historic first meeting with Serena Williams in the Hopman Cup on Tuesday, but tennis was the true winner as two of the game’s greats treated fans worldwide to an unforgettable evening.

Defending champions Switzerland sealed a 2-1 victory over six-times winners United States that left them bottom of Group B but the result mattered little to over 14,000 fans in Perth and millions around the world who had eagerly awaited the contest.

Federer and Williams, holders of a combined 43 singles Grand Slam crowns, won their singles matches to keep the mixed doubles clash alive and the deciding match lived up to the hype it had generated as both players left the court with big smiles.

The contest had been described by local media as the most anticipated clash involving men and women since 1973’s “Battle of the Sexes” where Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in an exhibition match.

While that meeting between 39-times major winner King and former men’s world number one Riggs was a grudge match, there was only mutual respect between Federer and Williams, who posed for selfies before indulging autograph hunters.

“It was great fun. What a pleasure. What an honour. Thank you for making it possible,” 20-times Grand Slam winner Federer, who is gearing up to defend his Australian Open title this month, said.

“I was nervous returning. People talk about her serve so much and I see why it is such a wonderful serve because you just can’t read it.”

Serena said the match, which was full of laughter and had an exhibition feel to it, was a “great experience” and one she hoped would not end as quickly as it did.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer aftre their historic meeting in the Hopman Cup. Photograph: Tony Ashby/AFP/Getty
Serena Williams and Roger Federer aftre their historic meeting in the Hopman Cup. Photograph: Tony Ashby/AFP/Getty

“I’m sorry it had to finish, I was just warming up. It was such fun, we grew up together. It was super cool. I wanted to take pictures and bring my baby out,” the 23-times Grand Slam winner said.

“This guy is great, both off the court and on the court. I think his serve is super-underestimated. It’s a killer serve, you can’t read it. I watched him all the time and I never knew how amazing it was.”

Playing in front of the highest single session attendance in the tournament’s history, the team of Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Williams and Frances Tiafoe 4-2 4-3(3) to clinch the tie to top the group.

Earlier, Federer hardly broke sweat in his singles match against Tiafoe, taking his game up a notch at 4-4 in the first set to win 6-4 6-1.

Williams, who had powered past Greece’s Maria Sakkari in straight sets on Monday, then fought back from a set down to seal a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over Bencic to level the contest at 1-1.

Switzerland have two wins from two games ahead of Thursday’s meeting with Greece, while US take on Britain next.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.