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Kerber fires as Germany edge past Belgium in Hopman Cup

Angelique Kerber showed plenty of tenacity to beat Belgium's Elise Mertens before teaming up with Alexander Zverev to help Germany get their Hopman Cup campaign off to a winning start at the Perth Arena on Monday.


Angelique Kerber showed plenty of tenacity to beat Belgium's Elise Mertens before teaming up with Alexander Zverev to help Germany get their Hopman Cup campaign off to a winning start at the Perth Arena on Monday.

Kerber put Germany ahead with a hard-fought 7-6(6) 7-6(1) victory over Mertens in the round robin stage of the eight-nation mixed team event.

David Goffin helped Belgium get back into the contest with a clinical 6-3 6-3 win over world number four Zverev to leave the tie at 1-1. But Kerber and Zverev were too strong for their rivals in the deciding mixed doubles rubber, winning 4-2 4-3.

Kerber started her singles match slowly, conceded an early break but fought back to claim three games in a row. She saved a set point at 5-6 and then forced a tiebreak which she won with a crisp backhand winner.

The former world number one raced to a 3-1 lead in the second set as Mertens struggled to cut out the errors. Despite saving a match point, Mertens could not match her rival in the tiebreak as Kerber prevailed in two hours.

"It gives me a lot of confidence to start the year like this," said the world number 21. "I think I need a few more matches to really get into my rhythm. However, for a start it was a good job.

"My goal is to play the three matches, hopefully four, and to find a good transition from all the practice to the match court ahead of the first grand slam of the year."

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