PERTH, Australia-Roger Federer won the Hopman Cup for a record third time after defending champion Switzerland beat Germany, 2-1, on Saturday.
The win gave Switzerland a 1-0 lead in the tie - enough to book them a spot in Saturday's final given they already beat Great Britain (3-0) and the U.S. (2-1) earlier in the tournament.
World number two Kerber appeared set for an easy win in her singles match against Bencic, taking the first set and then claiming an early break in the second.
Federer's performance-level was "the flawless preparation for the Australian Open", according to CNN, and the 20-time Grand Slam champion himself described "the whole match and the whole week" as one giant "thrill".
Zverev, ranked fourth and playing in his fourth successive Hopman Cup, then secured the tie for the Germans with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Matthew Ebden. After the defeat of ATP Champion Zverev and the victory of Wimbledon victor Kerber, the dream of victory in the exciting 0:4, 4:1, 3:4 (4:5) ended in Mixed. But Federer and Bencic hit back in the second to ensure a tie.
The world No.2 looked to be heading for a rapid victory, breaking Bencic's first two service games to race to a 3-0 lead.
Zverev had a glimmer of hope in the first game of the second set, 0-30, and two deuces, but the Federer serving was just too good.
It had been a statement performance that showcased Federer's fitness and determination, one of his best matches in many a month. "It (leg) is so sore, we have been playing a lot this week - I felt a little bit of pain in my quad", she said.
It wasn't until Kerber's third chance that a backhand victor secured the 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) win.
"He's had a wonderful end to the season beating me and Novak back to back in semis and the final in London", Federer said.
They, therefore, went down in the tight mixed doubles rubber.
The last German victory in the unofficial Mixed championship, which will be replaced by the newly created ATP-Cup, had brought in 1995, Anke Huber and Boris Becker, in 1993, Steffi Graf and Michael Stich had been for the first time for Germany.
"She was fighting until the last one (point)", the German said.