Greece narrowly missed out on a place in the Hopmans Cup final despite defeating a Roger Federer led Swiss team 2-1 in their final group encounter in Perth on Thursday evening.
Talented Greek tennis pair Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas continue to create history for Greek tennis by clinching the second ever win by Greece at a Hopmans Cup tournament, following on from its first ever win when it defeated team USA earlier in the week.
Despite losing the tie against Greece, Switzerland edged out Greece for a place in Saturday’s final, courtesy of Federer’s narrow 7-6, 7-6 win over Tsitsipas in the mens’ singles rubber. Maria Sakkari then leveled the tie by defeating her Swiss counterpart Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4, sending the tie into deciding doubles match which the Greeks won 4-3, 2-4, 4-3. The Hopmans doubles match features a shorter set format.
Sakkari took her excellent singles form into the doubles match, producing two wonderful returns of service off Federer, to clinch the deciding doubles match.
Team Greece’s performance throughout the tournament will give both Sakari and Tsitsipas great confidence heading into the Australian Open.
For twenty year old Tsitsipas, the tie against the Swiss provided his own personal historical moment, a first ever meeting against his idol Roger Federer. He showed few signs of nerves, and despite losing, the Swiss maestro failed to break the Tsitsipas serve relying instead on tie-breakers to win 7-6, 7-6. Tsitsipas’s performance drew praise from many observers including Federer himself who said afterwards, “I thought Stefanos came out and played a great match. So did I. Not many unforced errors and just lots of quality tennis.”
“At the end of the day that is what I see was the difference in the first set, maybe just an ace or double fault.
“In the second set I had a few more chances but it could have easily gone three sets.”
After the game, Tsitsipas commented, that playing Federer for the first time, was “unbelievable. I’ve been dreaming of this moment for a very long time. The emotions that I felt on the court, hitting balls against him, returning his serve, was unbelievable. It’s the best feeling on earth even though I lost. As I said before, there’s a lot of things I can learn from this match and a lot of experience as well. And it was a really good lesson today”.