Iga and Hubi lead Poland to United Cup win

POLAND faces Switzerland to determine the Group B winner after the former took care of Kazakhstan in a 4-1 fashion over the last two days. Both Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz pulled double duty for the winners in the tie, as the European nation set up an effective elimination final to determine which nation advance to the Brisbane final.

Regarded as two of the nicest players on their respective Tours, Swiatek had a day to rest through the two singles matches, having won her match the day before against Yulia Putintseva. Instead, the opening singles was to Hurkacz, who took on top Kazakhstan men’s singles player, Alexander Bublik and the pair engaged in a massive three-set epic. Though Bublik did draw level after winning the second set, Hurkacz calmly put the match away with a 7-6 4-6 6-3 victory in two hours and nine minutes.

“It was a lot of fun to play against Sascha (Bublik). I think that the quality was really high. It was the first match of the new year on the first [day of the year], so that was pretty good. I’m really happy with the quality and it was definitely a fun match,” Hurkacz said. “It was a lot of fun to play in front of such a great crowd. I’ve never been in Brisbane and I really love it here so thanks guys for coming.”

With the tie now 2-1 in favour of Poland, second women’s singles hope Magda Linette took to the court against Zhibek Kulambayeva and had far less resistance. The Top 50 talent cruised to a 6-2 6-1 victory to ensure Poland would take the tie win and set up a spot in the effective Group B elimination final.

“Following Hubi was great,” Linette said. “Watching that match from them was nerve-wracking. But it was really nice coming with the advantage of knowing he won. It was great and I just did my job.”

Fans then got their dream mixed doubles pairing, with Hurkacz stepping back onto court and Swiatek returning from the day before, and took care of 203rd ranked doubles player Grigoriy Lomakin who paired up with Kulambayeva to give them both great experience in the final match of the tournament.


In the other Brisbane contest, Brazil cruised past Norway to give itself a chance of winning the overall group despite a 3-2 loss to Italy over the opening two days. The South Americans now wait on to see if Norway can cause a massive upset over the Italians, though only Casper Ruud was able to pick up a match win against Brazil, defeating Thiago Monteiro, 6-3 6-2. Laura Pigossi defeated Ulrikke Eikeri in the other match to seal the tie, then Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos teamed up again, defeating Eikeri and Viktor Durasovic in straight sets, 6-4 7-5.

The first team to qualify for the next stage is Great Britain, who upset Spain 4-1 in a mammoth effort. Having already beaten Australia in the first tie of the Sydney event, Great Britain is safe in the knowledge the state final spot is booked. Though Paula Badosa was able to finally get on the board courtesy of a runaway third set against Harriet Dart – winning 6-7 7-6 6-1 – her compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas fell to Daniel Evans, who ground out a 6-3 1-6 6-3 victory. The Brits then closed out the tie comfortably in the doubles.

They will be watching on with interest as Germany takes on the United States for the other Sydney final spot. As long the United States win two ties, it will advance, after Czech Republic bounced back to defeat Germany 3-2 in the second tie of the group. Petra Kvitova sealed the deal early against Laura Siegemund to ensure the Czechs would taste victory, though Germany did have a late response. Oscar Otte knocked off Dalibor Svrcina in straight sets 7-6 6-2, then Siegemund and Alexander Zverev teamed up in the mixed doubles to grab another match win for Germany against Marie Bouzkova and Jiri Lehecka, 6-4 7-6.

Over in Perth, Bulgaria caused a boilover against Belgium, winning 3-2 in the first match to be decided by the mixed doubles. After the nations were 1-1 from the opening day’s play, Dimitar Kuzmanov crushed Zizou Bergs in a big upset, winning 6-2 6-0, before Elise Mertens knocked off world number 324 Gergana Topalova, 6-4 3-6 6-0 in a tougher-than-expected match. Mertens then joined David Goffin in the mixd doubles and the pair was a strong favourite against the Bulgarian duo of Isabella Shinikova and Alexandar Lazarov. Though the Belgians won the first set 6-1, the underdogs somehow managed to keep grinding, won the second set in a tiebreaker, and closed out the match and the tie, 10-6 in the third. Like the United States, Greece just two match wines against Belgium to advance to the final.

In the last group, Croatia repeated the bullying effort against Argentina, cruising to a 5-0 victory over the South Americans to set up a winner-takes-all effective knockout final against France today. After leading 2-0 the day before, Borna Gojo sealed the match with a 7-6 6-4 triumph over Federico Coria, before compatriot Petra Martic defeated Nadia Podoroska in three momentum-swinging sets, 6-2 4-6 6-1. Though Podoroska again won another set for the Argentinians in the mixed doubles with Tomas Etcheverry, the pairing of Gojo and Tara Wurth fought back to win in a tight one, 1-6 6-4 10-4 and salute 5-0 in the tie.

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