Thriller day to end the first leg of the Cup for United.
The “City Finals”, a playoff between the combined group winners of the three host cities, gave a fuller and clearer picture of the four national teams flying to Sydney just after the decisive mixed doubles match between Croatia and Greece in Perth. The fifth game was tied at 2-2.
Thanks to Greece’s victory, Italy could officially celebrate as Vincenzo Santopadre’s team was already on the pitch at the end of the series against Poland, jumping and taking pictures, but the percentage of sets won had only improved by a few. One-tenth of a point. The Azzurri have indeed been brought back and will go on to play in the Final 4 against Greece, with the other challenger being the USA against Poland.
Here’s the day’s report from the challenges in Perth and Sydney.
Greece b. Croatia 3-2
D. Vegik b. D. Papa Michael 6-2 6-0
S. Chitsipas b. B. Coric 6-0 6-7(5) 7-5
M. Zachary B. Fr Martic 6-3 6-3
B. Gojo B. S. Sacellaritis 6-4 6-2
M. Zachary/S. Tsitsipas b. B. Martic/B. Gojo 7-6(6) 6-4
A last-gasp win for Greece with Stephanos Tsitsipas and Maria Zachary the absolute stars of the game against Croatia and qualifying the Greeks for the 4th final in Sydney.
It’s no mystery how Greece have relied so completely on their two 90-pointers in each series they’ve faced so far, with two points between the singles and mixed doubles ending just after midnight in Perth. Zachary had a clear win against Petra Martic with a score of 2-1. A sprint to win the second set in a tie-break and a disappointing 6-0 6-7(5) 7-5 defeat and a disappointing final set 4-1 at the top.
In the final mixed doubles match, they were not completely out of balance until the end, again beating Tsitsipas and Zachary Kojo and Martic 7-6(6) 6-4. Now the challenge to Italy, and again to the Greeks, was to be decided by only two of them: Zacharias and Tsitsipas.
America b. Great Britain 4-1
M. Keyes b. K. Swann 2-6 6-3 6-4
C. Norrie B. D. Fritz 6-4 5-7 6-4
J. Pegula B. H. Dart 6-2 6-0
F. Tiafoe b. D. Evans 3-6 7-5 6-3
J. Pegula/D. Fritz B. H. Dart/D. Evans 6-4 6-4
Draw in different matches as disparity in final score. The United States won 4-1 against Great Britain and were immediately eliminated from the relegation zone. Pity for Tim Henman’s team, who struggled from the first challenge with Katie Swan, who at second singles made a fine impression against Madison Keys, holding the score at 4-4 and in that service game as well. In the 15-30 age range he made an excellent debut at the centre. She went down with a gap in the straight, and an overexcited forehand near the net, backed up in the open, led to her fouling the ball, but was still decisive in the final reckoning. Keys took the perfect first point on serve.
Cameron Norrie then re-owned the race against Taylor Fritz in the sprint, but Jessica Pegula was concerned to extinguish a good portion of the Englishman’s enthusiasm. Cold and icy, she left no way for Harriet Dart, losing her only one-sided match of the day by two games. Frances Tiafoe then struck again against Dan Evans to secure a third point for his side. There was no hope for the mixed doubles 4-1 losers.
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