Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Fritz, Keys give USA 2-0 lead in United Cup

SYDNEY ( Associated Press) – Taylor Fritz and Madison Keys gave the United States a 2-0 lead over the Czech Republic on Thursday in the first edition of the mixed team tournament United Cup.

Fritz broke Jiri Lehka in the ninth game of the second set to beat the Czech 6-3, 6-4. Keys followed up with a 6–4, 6–3 victory over Marie Bouzkova in the next Group C match at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

Two singles matches – one for men and one for women – will be held over two days and the second day of mixed doubles will conclude the five-match series.

“At a team event, the first game of the year, it’s always nerve-wracking, so it’s great to go out there and give the team an advantage,” Fritz said. “I hope it gives others some comfort. It’s a difficult position to play in if you’re behind, so it’s good for the team.”

The United States is seeded third in the tournament with Jessica Pegula (3) and Frances Tiafoe (19). Czech Republic is seeded 14th.

In the singles series on Friday, Pegula will face double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Tiafoe will face Tomasz Machak. Pegula and Fritz will play mixed doubles.

In the first United Cup, teams from 18 countries will play in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney till January 4. The champions of the three cities and the runners-up of the group stage will advance to meet at the Ken Rosewall Arena on January 6–8 to determine the champion.

Argentina was behind 2–0 against France after the loss of María Lourdes Carle and Francisco Cerundolo.

Carle, ranked 147 in the world, went down 6-2, 6-1 to 36th-ranked Alize Cornet.

Serundolo, ranked 30th, was defeated 6–4, 6–2 by Arthur Rinerknecht, ranked 44th.

Greece, the top pre-qualifier, is led by Stefanos Tsitsipas, third in the rankings, and Maria Sakkari, sixth. World number one Inga Swiatek and 11th seed Hubert Hirczak lead second favorite Poland.

The Greek team lived up to expectations, taking a 2-0 lead over Bulgaria in Perth. Tsitsipas defeated Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4).

Earlier, Despina Papamichael defeated Isabella Shinnikova 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

In the evening meetings in Sydney, Great Britain held a 2–0 lead. Cameron Norrie beat Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-3 and Katie Swan beat Jo Hives 6-4, 6-3.

The duel between Italy and Brazil in Brisbane was tied 1–1 after the first day. Beatriz Haddad Maia beat Marina Trevisan 6-2, 6-0 to give the South Americans a 1-0 lead.

Lorenzo Musetti defeated Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3, 6-4.

For Spain, Rafael Nadal will pair up with Paula Badosa (13).

Each city will have two groups of three nations competing in a round-robin format.

Nation World News Desk
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