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Federer faces Hopman Cup moment of truth

AAP logoAAP 5/01/2017 Justin Chadwick

Tennis star Roger Federer will be aiming to guide Switzerland into the Hopman Cup final when he confronts France's Richard Gasquet in Friday night's clash at Perth Arena.

The US have already booked their spot in Saturday's decider, and will meet the winner of the tie between France and Switzerland.

Federer entered the mixed-teams tournament having spent the previous six months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The 35-year-old made a bright return with a straight sets win over Dan Evans, but he was brought back to earth in a tight three-sets loss to German rising star Alexander Zverev on Wednesday night.

Federer holds a 15-2 advantage over Gasquet in head-to-head matches on the ATP tour.

But Gasquet is in hot form, having dispatched Zverev and Evans in straight sets.

World No.18 Gasquet said he was looking forward to testing himself against Federer.

"A lot of players have bad records against Federer," Gasquet said.

"He's the best player in history, so it's very difficult to win more than him.

"But I know how to play against him. I've won twice on clay. Of course he's the favourite for the match, but he hasn't played a for a long time."

Federer was just 19 years old when he won the Hopman Cup title alongside Martina Hingis 16 years ago.

The 17-time grand slam winner hopes he can repeat that feat with his current playing partner Belinda Bencic.

Bencic will take on France's Kristina Mladenovic in the women's rubber.

The pair are good friends, and regularly give each other tips on how to beat certain players.

But there will be no sharing of information heading into Friday night's tie.

And Mladenovic revealed her and Federer had been teasing each other about their upcoming Hopman Cup showdown well before they arrived in Perth.

"Roger was also based in Dubai, so we are practising in the same place," Mladenovic said.

"He was very funny. He was coming to me and he knew the schedule of ties better than me.

"He's such a nice person, easy to talk with and such a legend.

"Just the idea about having a deciding tie against Switzerland ... what to say?"

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