Germany defeat Belgium in Hopman Cup opener

Alexander Zverev Angelique Kerber Germany

Star-studded Germany got off to a winning start in their bid for Hopman Cup glory as they defeated a talented Belgian side 2-1 in Perth on Monday.

Former World No 1 Angelique Kerber put her nation on the front foot when she defeated Elise Mertens 7-6 (8-6), 7-6, (7-1) in the first match of the day.

It was a surprisingly tough clash for Kerber, who needed a pair of tie-breaks to prevail after two fiercely contested sets that featured a combined 10 breaks of serve.

Playing in Australia seems to bring out the best in Mertens, who won her only WTA title to date in Hobart a year ago, but two-time Grand Slam champion Kerber was able to produce the goods when it mattered to secure victory.

It needed a big response from Belgian No 1 David Goffin in the men’s singles clash against Alexander Zverev, the fastest rising star in the game.

Goffin is no slouch, however, and he proved it with a clutch 6-3, 6-3 victory that sent the two countries into the deciding mixed doubles match all square.

Together, Kerber and Zverev proved a potent combination, however, and despite the best efforts of Mertens and Goffin, the German duo won 4-2, 4-3 (5-2) to grab a share of top spot in Group B.