PERTH: Swiss champion Roger Federer’s comeback gained momentum when he produced an almost flawless performance to beat French veteran Richard Gasquet at the mixed teams Hopman Cup on Friday.
After being beaten by young gun Alexander Zverev in his previous singles match in the tournament, Federer bounced back to thrash the 18th-ranked Gasquet in straight sets in under an hour.
The Hopman Cup is the 35-year-old’s first tournament since a six-month layoff due to knee and back injuries.
Federer entered 2017 ranked 16th — his lowest placing since 2001 – but in brushing aside Gasquet he showed he was ready to be a serious contender at the Australian Open, starting a week from Monday.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion barely missed a groundstroke, getting his first break of serve in the fourth game of the match and dominating proceedings from that point on.
He also sent down 11 aces in nine service games, winning 6-1, 6-4 in 56 minutes.
Gasquet had been in good touch heading into the match, beating Zverev and Dan Evans, both in straight sets.
Even Federer was stunned by his own form.
“It was completely different from the previous two,” he said.
“Today was great, I started to feel the ball better and better and move better.
“I am surprised how well I am playing already.
“I couldn’t be more happy right now.”
Gasquet admitted Federer was simply too good.
“He played unbelievable,” Gasquet said.