Perth - Germany and Australia will face off for a place in what is expected to be the last Hopman Cup final after they both remained unbeaten in the mixed teams tournament in Perth on Wednesday.
The Germans are on track for their second successive Hopman Cup final by beating France and the Australians won a thrilling mixed doubles match to clinch their tie against Spain.
The two teams will play on Friday and the winner will advance to the final of the tournament, which is widely tipped to be scrapped after 31 years due to a scheduling clash.
The German pairing of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber, beaten in last year's final by Switzerland's Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic, made it two wins from as many group outings when the top 10 duo both won their singles matches against lower-ranked opponents.
Kerber had to come from a set down to beat feisty Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, while Zverev squandered a match point in the second set before defeating Lucas Pouille in three.
Ashleigh Barty gave Australian a perfect start to their tie by beating former world number one and dual Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza, before David Ferrer levelled the encounter by beating local Matthew Ebden.
The Australians then clinched the tie in a seesawing Fast4 mixed doubles encounter which swung on almost every point.
Ebden, who said winning his home town tournament would mean as much as a Grand Slam title, called for local fans to turn out on Friday to support the home team, who will start as underdogs against the higher-ranked Germans.
"We wanted to make it all to play for on Friday and hopefully everyone comes out and get behind us," he said.
"We are going to need it, but with Ash by my side we can do it."
Barty's impressive early season form continued when she disposed of Muguruza in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
Muguruza, currently ranked 18th, three spots below Barty, didn't drop a point in her first three service games of the match, but was broken in the fourth.
That enabled the Australian to claim the first set and one more break in the seventh game of the second set was enough to secure the win.
In the men's singles, veteran Ferrer squared the tie with a 7-6 (7/1), 7-5 win.
The deciding mixed doubles saw the Spaniards win the first set in the abbreviated tie-break, but Australia won the next two in similar fashion to prevail 3-4 (3/5), 5-4 (5/0), 4-3 (5/3).
The Germans secured their tie by winning both singles matches.
Kerber served for the first set in her singles match against the 45th-ranked Cornet, but then dropped three successive games as the Frenchwoman claimed the set.
However, Kerber settled and won the next two sets to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 in just over two hours and maintain her perfect singles record in Perth, with six wins from as many outings.
Ranked fourth in the world, Zverev started well against the 32nd-ranked Pouille and took the first set comfortably on the back of a service break in the eighth game.
However, the match tightened up in the second set, with both players holding set points.
Zverev had a match point during the second set tie-break, while it wasn't until his sixth set point that Pouille levelled the match.
The pair traded service breaks early in the third set, but Zverev gained a second break for a 4-2 lead when the Frenchman double faulted and that sealed Pouille's fate.
The French gained some consolation by winning the dead mixed doubles rubber.
Results from the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth on Wednesday:
Australia bt Spain 2-1
Women's singles: Ashleigh Barty (AUS) bt Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 6-3, 6-4
Men's singles: David Ferrer (ESP) bt Matthew Ebden (AUS) 7-6 (7/1), 7-5
Mixed doubles: Barty/Ebden (AUS) bt Muguruza/Ferrer (ESP) 3-4 (3/5), 4-3 (5/0), 4-3 (5/3)
Germany bt France 2-1
Women's singles: Angelique Kerber (GER) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
Men's singles: Alexander Zverev (GER) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-3, 6-7 (8/10), 6-2
Mixed doubles: Cornet/Pouille (FRA) bt Kerber/Zverev (GER) 4-3 (5/4), 4-3 (5/3)