Swiatek, Hurkacz lead Poland into United Cup mixed teams tennis final
SYDNEY (AP) — Top-ranked Iga Swiatek’s Poland team will play Germany in the United Cup final after contrasting semifinal wins on Saturday.
Swiatek won her singles match over Caroline Garcia after Hubert Hurkacz gave Poland the early lead over France to advance them to the United Cup mixed teams final.
Germany edged host Australia 2-1 with a victory in the mixed doubles in a night session that ended around 2:20 a.m. local time.
Angelique Kerber gave Germany a 1-0 lead after saving two match points in a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7) win over Ajla Tomljanovic.
Alex de Minaur beat Alexander Zverev 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the men's singles to level the semifinal for the host nation.
Zverev returned for the mixed doubles and combined with Laura Siegmund to help Germany seal it in an epic match tiebreaker which ended 7-6 (2), 6-7 (2), 15-13 after 2 hours, 20 minutes.
The German pair converted their fifth match point, after saving two themselves, when Storm Hunter sent a forehand long.
It was a long night at Sydney's Ken Rosewall Arena after a relatively straightforward day session.
Swiatek won 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 over Garcia after ATP No. 9-ranked Hurkacz beat Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5 to give Poland an unassailable 2-0 lead. For good measure, Poland later won the mixed doubles for a final 3-0 score line.
Swiatek said she need to make a “big adjustment” after her opening-set loss to Garcia.
“I was making bad decisions and I needed to be more composed," Swiatek said. "After the break after the first set I came back more focused, so I’m pretty proud of myself.”
Hurkacz won 31 of 36 points on his first serve and had 15 aces.
“He’s really difficult to play against; I was just fighting for every point and I was able stay positive and was really resilient today,” Hurkacz said.
Top-seeded Poland lost just one match in the group stage of the tournament in Perth before beating China 3-0 to reach the final four for the second straight year.
The Australia-Germany match went on for hours, starting with Kerber winning her first singles encounter since returning from the birth of her first child.
“It’s my first singles win since coming back and it’s a great feeling,” the three-time major winner said. “Coming out and having such a tough battle and it means a lot to have a match like this before going to the Australian Open.”
De Minaur's defeat of Zverev continued a week of big wins that have included victories over Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz and will see him move into the Top 10 next week for the first time.
“It’s what I’ve worked so hard for, it’s another milestone,” de Minaur said. “But the job’s not done ... we keep improving, we keep working."
Zverev returned to win the mixed doubles, cramping near the end as the match wore on but just able to guide Germany to a narrow win.
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