(Sydney) Reigning Olympic champion Alexander Zverev saved two match points to come from behind and win his singles duel before helping Germany lift the United Cup on Sunday.
Ranked sixth in the world, Zverev showed plenty of stamina to defeat Hubert Hurkacz in three sets of 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), 6-4 in a clash that lasted more than three hours, in Sydney.
Then playing his sixth match in three days, Zverev teamed with Laura Siegemund to triumph 6-4, 5-7, 10-4 in mixed doubles at the expense of Iga Swiatek and Hurkacz.
Fittingly, the winning shot came from Zverev’s racket, as his backhand volley gave Germany an improbable United Cup title, following snatched victories in the semi-final and final.
Earlier in the day, Swiatek, the world’s best racket, propelled Poland to a 1-0 lead with a straight set win over Angelique Kerber.
The 22-year-old Swiatek dominated Kerber 6-3, 6-0 in 70 minutes to extend her unbeaten streak to 16. The four-time major champion finished 2023 with titles at the China Open and WTA Finals.
Poland needed just one more victory, in men’s singles or mixed doubles, to win the United Cup.
Hurkacz appeared to have Poland on track for its first team title as he led Zverev by a set and 6-4 in the second set tiebreaker.
Zverev, however, found the necessary energy, as well as a superb crosscourt forehand, to keep Germany alive.
He then won the final set thanks in particular to a break in the third game. He brought victory to his country after working for almost three hours.
“That’s the way tennis goes sometimes. You win by millimeters and you lose the same way,” Zverev observed.
Kerber had break opportunities against Swiatek in the fourth and sixth games of the first set, but she was unable to convert them. The Pole seized her opportunities to gain the advantage in the seventh game and won the first set in 48 minutes.
Swiatek shifted into another gear in the second set, breaking the three-time Grand Slam champion three times to collect a fifth straight victory this week.
“I’m really proud of myself for being able to win all my singles matches,” observed Swiatek. [Kerber] was really choosing the right place to play and she surprised me at times early in the set with her decision making and choices. I knew she could play like that, but I didn’t have much time to get into the rhythm. »