Roger Federer too strong for Yuichi Sugita at Hopman Cup
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 30/12/17 5:24pm
Roger Federer made a winning start to the new season, easing to a 6-4 6-3 victory over Japan's Yuichi Sugita at the Hopman Cup in Perth.
The Swiss great is beginning his season at the exhibition event for the second time in a row. Last year he had just returned after six months out with knee problems, before going on to claim a stunning win at the Australian Open.
It is a different story this year for the World No 2, who is coming off a superb 2017, but he still showed signs of rust against Sugita.
However, the 36-year-old also delighted a sell-out crowd with a series of classy strokes, and broke once in each set to complete a 66-minute victory.
"I feel much more in a rhythm," said Federer, when asked how he felt in comparison with his return to action last season.
"Last year, I was like, I hope I'm going to be able to hit my first serves, and I hope it's going to work out as much as it did in the practice.
"I think all those question marks aren't really there this time around, which is a nice thing.
"I think it was a great start.
"I'm healthy and had a great off season. The body's great, it couldn't be better, so I couldn't be happier."
Federer's triumph gave Switzerland the lead in their Group B tie against Japan, before Belinda Bencic sealed the victory with a 7-5 6-3 defeat of Naomi Osaka.
And the Swiss duo then completed a clean sweep of the tie with a win in the mixed doubles, prevailing 2-4 4-1 4-3 (5-1) under the Fast4 format.
In the tournament's opening match, Coco Vandeweghe and Jack Sock won their singles clashes to give USA a 2-1 Group B victory against Russia.
Vandeweghe defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-3 and Sock saw off Karen Khachanov 6-4 1-6 6-3, before the Russians salvaged something by winning the mixed doubles.
We'll be back in 2018 with coverage from the Australian Open on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis.
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