02 January, 2019
Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, bottom, in action during their mixed doubles match against Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams of the United States at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, Jan. 1, 2019.
Williams and Federer both served well against each other, but Federer's sublime touch at the net proved decisive.
Her win levelled the tie between the USA and Greece at 1-1 after world No. 15 Stefanos Tsitsipas beat American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in 135 minutes.
Williams grabbed at her right shoulder several times during the match, but said it wasn't anything to worry about.
However, even a rare defeat couldn't take the gloss off the experience of facing Federer for the first, and nearly certainly the only, time.
"It's super exciting", Williams said, looking ahead to her meeting with Federer later in the day.
Putting her amazingly toned figure on full display, Serena looked sensational in the red skater-style dress with a sweetheart neckline. Serena, what a pleasure, what an honour. "I admire everything she's done on and off the court, we are both fierce competitors and we always want to win", he said, according to Agence France-Presse.
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"So, I'm used to it, you know, and then of course in practice you really realize how good they strike the ball", continued Roger Federer.
The pair posed together for a selfie after the match. But Williams lifted in the big moments, breaking Bencic in the final game of the second set to level the scores, before powering to victory in the third.
Federer won seven games in succession and eight of the last nine as Tiafoe dropped away.
"It was a great experience, I'm kind of sad it's over - I was just warming up!"
Williams, tuning up for the Australian Open, upped her game under pressure to take the next two for a 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory to set up a competitive finale with Federer.
"It's the age of social media", Federer said with a laugh when told about Williams' plan.
"I've played with some of the greatest doubles players in the world in Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis, and I've also played against some of the best in Venus and other great ones in the past".