Friday’s final tie will see the home team face off against the number #1 seeds Germany in the Hopman Cup. With both teams having won their two previous ties (against France and Spain), this will be the deciding tie. The victor will play Switzerland in Saturday’s final.
Ashleigh Barty vs Angelique Kerber
Ashleigh Barty has been on a real high since winning her biggest title last year in Zhuhai. The Aussie has looked so impressive in Perth, winning both her matches in straight sets. She overcame the defensive challenge from Cornet, winning 7-5 6-3 over the French woman. Then, she cruised past Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-4, which had originally seemed like a tough match for her. After staying around the same ranking for around a year, the world number #15 finally looks set for her breakthrough and will be a huge challenge to Angelique Kerber.
Despite the higher ranking, Kerber has had many more difficulties throughout her match wins in the Hopman Cup. The three time grand slam champion had a very difficult start against Muguruza, having to win in three sets in a very high quality match. Things didn’t get any easier for her, as she had to overcome Cornet in three, a player who she lost to twice in a row. However, despite these difficulties there has been a significant improvement in her game – her aggression. Before, she was known for her speed and counter-attacking, but it’s clear now she has worked hard on her weight of shot and is hitting many more winners than before.
Their head to head is tied at 2-2, with Barty winning their last match in Wuhan last year. Kerber won in straight sets in the Sydney final last year against Barty, which has conditions similar to Perth. However, Barty has been playing better than ever and has the home crowd advantage, which I believe makes her the favourite for this match.
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Matthew Ebden vs Alexander Zverev
Before the Hopman Cup started, Ebden looked like a weak link in the Aussie team, but he has proved to be much more than that. He scored a huge upset over Pouille in three sets, coming from a set down to triumph. Then, despite a loss to Ferrer, he still played very well and looked a better player than his ranking would suggest.
Zverev has continued his form from the ATP Finals and fought to victory in both matches. His biggest challenge was against Ferrer, where he had to survive a third set tiebreak to claim victory. He also had some struggles against Pouille, but ultimately won 6-2 6-7 6-2. The young German has shown his resilience so far in the Hopman Cup and has a very big chance against the Aussie.
The pair have never met in their careers, but Zverev appears to be the favorite. He has a lot more experience despite being ten years younger than his opponent and is in general, the better player. Despite this, Ebden will be a challenge and won’t give up easily.
Both teams have had similar fortunes in the mixed doubles, with both winning against Spain and losing to France. Despite not playing doubles much, the German team has never looked out of place during their matches together. They will be looking to make the final for the second year in a row against Switzerland. However, the Australian team have much more experienced doubles players as both have won doubles grand slams. Therefore, Australia should be the favorites to win this match and narrowly win the tie, but it will not be easy against the highest ranked team in the tournament.
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