Federer makes winning start to Hopman Cup

World No.2 Roger Federer gave his return to the court a big tick after powering past Japan's Yuichi Sugita 6-4 6-3 in their Hopman Cup clash at Perth Arena.

Federer was forced to save a break point in his first game, and shanked a forehand into the crowd during the opening set before breaking world No.40 Sugita in the fifth game.

From there it was all one-way traffic as the 19-time grand slam winner wrapped the match up in 66 minutes.

Switzerland secured the tie win after Belinda Bencic beat Naomi Osaka 7-5 6-3 in 91 minutes in the women's singles rubber.

Despite Federer's easy singles win, he was rusty at times.

Image: Getty

The 36-year-old said it was nice to dust off the cobwebs in his first tournament since playing in the ATP World Tour Finals in mid-November.

At this time last year, Federer was entering the unknown after spending six months out with a knee injury.

But after winning two grand slams including the Australian Open in a wildly successful 2017 campaign, Federer said he felt more at ease in his Hopman Cup opener compared to the previous year.

"This year I feel much more in a rhythm," Federer said.

"You get to break point or the moment where you have to serve the first time of the year, and it's a normal thing.

"Whereas last year, I was like, 'Ooh, 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."

Federer said his body was feeling great, and he was pleased with his first outing.

"I'm just very happy I was able to have a good level today, and stay calm under pressure," he said.

"I had some good moments moving forward (to the net) and playing up in the court.

"That's how I want to play for the year. I think it was a great start."

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