Italy and United States to battle for United Cup

TWO nations remain in the United Cup, with Italy and United States to face off in the final to decide the title. After losing to Poland in the City Final, Italy gained a reprieve as the lucky fourth placed loser to secure a semi-finals spot. There, the Italians manage to take down Greece, as the United States steamrolled Poland to set up the decider.

Italy was able to feel comfortable heading into day two after an upset win from Martina Trevisan over Top 10 talent Maria Sakkari on day one, as well as Lorenzo Musetti defeating Stefanos Sakellaridis. Though Musetti was expected to take care of youngster Sakellaridis, and did so 6-1 6-1, Trevisan threw a spanner in the works for Greece by taking down Sakkari in three sets, 6-3 6-7 7-5.

On day two, just the two singles matches were needed with world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas keeping his nation in the contest, fighting through a huge battle with Matteo Berrettini to win in three sets, 4-6 7-6 6-4. Desperate to find a way to win the second women’s singles, Greece pulled a surprise by bringing in Valentini Grammatikopoulou to replace Despina Papamichail who had played all the previous singles. Despite the move, it did not change the result, with Italian Lucia Bronzetti winning 6-2 6-3 and booked Italy’s place in the United Cup final.

Earlier in the day, the United States cruised past Poland in a 5-0 whitewash thanks to a hard-fought double tiebreak win for Taylor Fritz over fellow Top 10 player Hubert Hurkacz. Fritz ground out a 7-6 7-6 victory, both of which were 7-5 tiebreaks, including winning the last three points of the match to secure the victory. It came the day after Jessica Pegula stunned world number one Iga Swiatek in straight sets, 6-2 6-2. In the other singles match on day one, Frances Tiafoe knocked off Kacper Zuk, 6-3 6-3.

With the tie done and dusted after Fritz knocked off Hurkacz, the Americans did not take the foot off the break with Madison Keys cruising to victory over fellow undefeated United Cup player Magda Linette, 6-4 6-2. Ensuring their chemistry in the mixed doubles remained high, Fritz and Pegula teamed up to make it a clean sweep with a 6-7 6-4 10-6 victory over Poland to race into the final. In its four matches, the United States has dropped just two matches to be overwhelming favourites.

“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,” Fritz said post-match. “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.”

Tomorrow’s United Cup final kicks off at 1pm with Pegula up against Trevisan, before Tiafoe faces Musetti. Earning a rest until the evening, the blockbuster number one men’s singles match of Fritz and Berrettini will take off no earlier than 5:30pm, followed by Keys and Bronzetti. If the tie is still alive after the four singles, the mixed doubles pairings of Pegula and Fritz will face Trevisan and Berrettini, albeit with the possibility of change for the pairings.

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