Team United States sprinted to a 2-0 lead against Team Poland on Friday in the United Cup Final Four, and American Taylor Fritz finished the job Saturday morning.
The reigning BNP Paribas Open champion clawed past Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in the No. 1 men’s singles match to give his country an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Jessica Pegula upset World No. 1 Iga Swiatek and Frances Tiafoe eased past Kacper Zuk to earn the Americans their first two points.
“It was great to get the win today to get us through. I had no doubt that if I were to lose that the rest of the team would have come through. But I’ve played with Team USA a lot. I think it’s a huge advantage this time having the girls on our team because it just makes the whole team so much stronger. I’m super excited going into the final and I think we’ve been the favourites all week.”
In the championship match, Team United States will face Team Italy or Team Greece. Italy leads Greece 2-0 in their semi-final tie.
“I think whoever serves better is probably going to get over the line,” Tiafoe predicted for the Fritz-Hurkacz clash Friday afternoon.
That proved prophetic. Fritz won 88 per cent of his first-serve points and was able to manoeuvre into comfortable positions in points behind his serve.
Hurkacz earned two set points on return at 5-4 in the first set. The Pole missed a mid-rally crosscourt forehand on his first opportunity and a forehand return just long on his second. Letting slip those chances proved his downfall.
The tension could be cut with a knife inside Ken Rosewall Arena during the first-set tie-break, as neither man relinquished a mini-break through the first 11 points. Fritz was able to take the initiative on his first set point and forced an error from Hurkacz’s backhand into the net.
Hurkacz also had opportunities to earn the match’s first break at 5-5, 15/40 on Fritz’s serve in the second set, but the American saved them with a big serve and forehand volley. The Pole once again seemed in position to force a decider with two serves at 5/4 in the tie-break, but he missed two forehands, which allowed Fritz to close out the match and with it, the tie.
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Source: ATP World Tour