Demon delight sends Aussies into quarters

AUSTRALIA has sensationally reached the quarter finals of the 2024 United Cup after another typical Alex de Minaur display in the green and gold, taking down top 10 talent, Taylor Fritz and potentially eliminating reigning champions the United States from the tournament.

The United States face a nervous wait through today, with Group E’s clash between Czech Republic and Serbia set to determine if the reigning title holders can still reach the next stage of the event. The former needs to win 3-0 – or comfortably win two and a tight loss in the third – in a highly unlikely scenario given the latter has Novak Djokovic in the men’s singles and doubles.

The green and gold do not face any nervous wait, as it took the victory over the United States 2-1, bouncing back from the same result against them when facing Great Britain on the opening day of the United Cup. Yet again, it was de Minaur who spurred the upset, taking down the 10th ranked Fritz for the fifth time in eight head-to-head matches.

In what was a 90-minute display of grit and determination, de Minaur withstood 10 aces off Fritz’s racquet to win 78 and 57 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 63 per cent clip. He saved all three break points when serving himself, and claimed three break points off Fritz in the 6-4 6-2 win.

While Ajla Tomljanovic went down in a tight loss to world number five Jessica Pegula 7-6 6-3, the Australians had the superior doubles pairing. Last year Fritz and Pegula proved to be a dominant duo when combined on-court, but with. Australia boasting world number one Storm Hunter and top five ATP doubles talent Matthew Ebden, it was always going to be another level for the Americans.

It forced the Americans to sub in their own specialist doubles player in Rajeev Ram instead of Fritz, but the Australians still crushed them 6-3 6-1, en route to booking a spot in the quarter finals. Following the win, the Australian doubles duo could hardly believe what htey had achieved.

“This means everything,” Hunter said post-match. “It is a dream come true. Playing in front of the home crowd and playing with Matty, a Perth local, it is a dream come true to win and go into the quarter-finals at home.”

“It’s super up there, super special,” Ebden said. “You can’t almost compare it to anything like Davis Cups, like these team comps that we play for Australia, especially here at home, being West Aussies. For me, it’s super exciting, way up there. Some of those great memories, I can’t compare it to anything. It’s up there on its own.”

While de Minaur is no stranger to big wins in Australian colours given he takes his game to another level in team events – think Patty Mills for the Boomers – he said he was feeling good after his first round loss to Cameron Norrie.

“Today was a new year, new me,” de Minaur said. “I was in a great headspace and I played the tennis I wanted to be playing, so I’m very happy with that.

“Taylor has got some explosive firepower and you can’t let him dictate. My mindset was to take it to him from the first ball and take any small chances I had to dictate the point. It doesn’t always work out, but it did today.”


Poland overcame a shock loss in the men’s singles to double-bagel Spain in the doubles and secure its spot in the quarter finals as the Group A winners. Despite Hubert Hurkacz losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina after winning the first set, the towering Pole teamed up with world number one Iga Swiatek – who beat Sara Sorribes Tormo convincingly 6-2 6-1 in the singles – to knock off the Spanish duo 6-0 6-0 in a dominant display.

The shock upset of the day took place in Sydney when Casper Ruud spearheaded Norway to a win over Croatia. Defeating Borna Coric 6-4 6-1, the 11th ranked Norwegian then paired up with compatriot and doubles specialist Ulrikke Eikeri to knock off Donna Vekic and Ivan Dodig in three sets. Winning 10-7 in a deciding super tiebreak, the Norwegians recorded their first ever United Cup win. Earlier in the day, Vekic took care of Malene Helgo, but in a far closer than expected contest, 7-5 3-6 6-3.

In the other Sydney tie, France entered the competition with a victory over Germany, as Caroline Garcia and Edouard Roger-Vasselin scraped home in the doubles against Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev. The French duo won 12-10 in the deciding third set super tiebreak for an overall match win of 7-6 2-6 12-10 to secure the tie. Earlier in the night, Garcia defeated Kerber after a poor start 1-6 6-2 6-2, to balance out Zverev’s three-set win over Adrian Mannarino, 4-6 6-4 6-3.

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