Roger Federer made an nearly flawless start to his Australian Open preparation with a superb straight-sets win over Cameron Norrie as defending champions Switzerland beat Britain in the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth on Sunday (Dec 30).
Federer and Williams, both 37, have won a combined 43 Grand Slam titles.
Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return against Maria Sakkari of Greece during their fifth session women's singles match on day three of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on 31 December 2018.
Bencic and Federer are the defending Hopman Cup champions.
The match has been compared to the 1973 exhibition match known as Battle of the Sexes, where Billie Jean King roundly beat Bobby Riggs.
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Despite their long concurrent careers and having attended a few Wimbledon champion dinners together, Federer said the pair barely knew each other. "I wasn't missing any rhythm", Federer said after his win over world No.91 Norrie. "It was a great match for me", he added. "This is so cool".
"I was making a lot of errors and I'm like "it's okay, it's your first match, it'll get better", she said. I've seen her on the telly.
Federer stressed that both players are looking for victory.
"I was happy with all aspects of my game. footwork, offensive play, serve, return".
But it really isn't because it's probably going to happen once and then never again and that's why I hope we're both going to be injury-free when that day comes around.
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"It was very good". It was a great match for me.
At the Hopman Cup, eight teams representing their nations compete in a round-robin format.
The 37-year-old will face off against rising star Frances Tiafoe in Tuesday's tie against the U.S., before playing Williams in the mixed doubles.
It was a similar story in the second set, as Norrie was unable to follow up his fine win over world No 15 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on Saturday. In an escalating argument, she called him a "thief" and accused him of stealing a point from her.
Serena Williams played down any fears over her fitness after she struggled with an ankle problem during her opening Hopman Cup match against Maria Sakkari. "What he has done in tennis over the past 15 or 20 years has been absolutely incredible".
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The bout was a rematch of their initial 2016 meeting that Whyte won by a close split decision. But I think the priority is Wilder. "It was a great fight and I enjoyed it".