2024 United Cup preview: Group A

TWO usually star-studded nations go head-to-head in a stacked Group A in what should be an entertaining contest, while a South American underdog looks to upset the apple cart in the 2024 United Cup.

Group A features Poland, Spain and Brazil, with just the one automatic qualifier through to the next stage, while the second placed team has a chance of landing a wildcard spot.

Kicking off at 10am local time on Friday, Group A will be played at RAC Arena, with the clash between Spain and Brazil opening the tournament. Poland then matches up against Brazil on Saturday night, before the much-anticipated blockbuster between Poland and Spain in the first tie of the new year. However both Poland and Spain are missing key players for the tournament.

Number one seeds Poland has two top stars leading the charge with world number number one Iga Swiatek teaming up alongside world number 11, Hubert Hurkacz. The depth after that is a little suspect however, with a couple WTA key players missing from the line-up including Magda Linette (24th in the world) who provides a strong second singles player on the WTA side. Magdalena Frech (74th in the world) is another tough loss for the Polish side.

Instead, Daniel Michalski (ATP rank 256) and Katarzyna Kawa (WTA rank 197) line-up as the second singles players, with Jan Zielinski and Katarzyna Piter both ranked inside the top 70. Nonetheless, the combination of Swiatek and Hurkacz will be hard to beat.

Spain always has the top-end talent to challenge across all team events, but come into the tournament as 11th seeds which means no Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal or Paula Badosa. The top two ranked players will be regular team event singles player Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (26th) alongside Sara Sorribes Tormo (55th).

With Roberto Carballes Baena and Marina Bassols Ribera the next in line, it is fair to say Spain does not have its strongest possibble lineup. Still, the Spanish are forever dangerous and will worry sides, but minus the almost guarantees to win in most circumstances, it is tough to see them challenging Poland here.

As the 17th ranked side, Brazil comes in as heavy underdogs against the two nations, especially seeing as most are clay court specialists. The South Americans do have their top ranked WTA singles player in Beatriz Haddad Maia (ranked 11th) who will cause some headaches, with Carolina Alves (304th) the next best singles player.

There is not as much top end talent on the men’s side, with 79th ranked Thiago Seyboth Wild up with 148th ranked Felipe Meligeni Alves. Though Poland and Spain might be missing quality players, it is hard to see the Brazilians cracking through much beyond the women’s number one singles.


Poland to progress to the next stage by winning both ties, while Spain will defeat Brazil.

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