Johannesburg [South Africa], Jan.4 (ANI
):Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer
's return from six-month injury layoff suffered a major blow as he was stunned by teenager Alexander Zverev
in an entertaining Hopman Cup
tie in Perth on Wednesday.
19-year-old star Zverev, who is ranked 24th in the world, got the better of Federer last June in a semi-final at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.
The young German player once again proved too strong for Federer by edging a tight encounter, which saw all three sets decided by tie-breaks.
Federer, who showed plenty of the class which has won him a record 17 Grand Slams, served for the first set at 5-3 but Zverev fought back and eventually rolled through the tie-breaker to eventually claim a 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4) win in the clash that lasted two hours and 30 minutes.
Earlier, Swiss star Federer, who is representing his country in the mixed team event in Perth, defeated Briton Dan Evans on Monday in his opening singles match.
Despite the defeat, Federer insisted that he was on the right track for the upcoming Australian Open.
"I am very happy, I have played five good sets so far. I am very pleased, practice has gone great, the matches have been a lot of fun and I am playing good tennis, " Sport24 quoted Federer as saying.
The 35-year-old further said he is happy until he is injury free before admitting that Zverer would serve big in the coming future.
"It was good to play for two and a half hours. Sasha (Zverev) can serve big and showed what he can do, but I was happy how I hung around and I had some really good moments. As long as I am injury free and feeling good," said Federer, who, in July last year, ruled himself out of the rest of the season to recover fully from his injury
, which got aggravated during his semifinal defeat to Milos Raonic in Wimbledon.
Federer's defeat to Zverev left Switzerland 1-0 down in their match against Germany, with Belinda Bencic all set to face Andrea Petkovic ahead of a mixed doubles match later in the day.(ANI