Germany through despite Australia heroics

Zverev Kerber Germany Hopman Cup

Germany beat Australia 2-1 on Friday to advance to the final of the Hopman Cup, despite a heroic performance from Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Angelique Kerber had put the Germans in the pound seats in the first match of the tie, defeating Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three contest.

All that was needed was for World No 4 Alexander Zverev to beat World No 178 Thanasi Kokkinakis, and victory in the tie was Germany’s.

But against all odds, 21-year-old Kokkinakis produced a superhuman performance in front of his home crowd to stun Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 and level the scores at 1-1.

Few gave Kokkinakis much of a chance against Zverev, but after losing the first he managed to edge the second in a tie-breaker, and then claimed what would turn out to be a decisive break midway through the third set to clinch victory, much to the delight of the Aussie fans.

That gave Australia real chance of completing the upset in the deciding mixed doubles contest, but despite taking the first set, they came up just short as the class of Kerber and Zverev shone through.

The Germans hit back strongly to take the second set and narrowly edged a pulsating final set in a tie-break to complete a 2-1 win and book their place in Saturday’s final.

The final set was not without controversy, as Kokkinakis forfeited a point after a powerful forehand hit Kerber in the hip.

Standing between Germany and the trophy are Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic, who booked their place in the final with victory over USA on Thursday.