Team USA beat Italy to win first United Cup

SYDNEY – The United States won the inaugural United States Cup convincingly on Sunday by convincingly beating Italy in the mixed team final.

Taylor Fritz, ranked 9th, gave the United States a 3-0 lead in a best-of-five match, beating former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini 7-6(4), 7-6(7).

The Indian Wells Masters champion missed nine break points but got none on his serve and proved to be a more consistent player in two tiebreaks.

His teammates surrounded him at the Ken Rosewall Arena after he claimed the title for the Americans.

“We came with very high hopes before the start of the tournament and I was very happy that I was able to win the match, and just the emotions when you win and everyone runs at you, it’s amazing,” Fritz said.

“We’ve had a lot of team connections this week and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Jessica Pegula set the US on the path to victory by beating Martina Trevisan 6-4, 6-2, continuing her strong run that included a victory over high-profile Iga Swiatek on Friday.

Frances Tiafoe, a 2022 US Open semi-finalist, extended her lead when Lorenzo Musetti withdrew from the competition with a shoulder injury after losing their match 6-2 in the first set.

Madison Keys continued the US dominance in the final by defeating Lucia Bronzetti 6-3, 7-2 in what was a dead rubber in terms of title.

The US was considered favorites for the 18-nation tournament due to the strength of the team, with all four singles players ranked among the top 20 players in the world.

En route to the final, the US only lost two of the 20 rubbers they played against the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain and Poland.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated Pegula in the opening match of the tournament, while 2022 Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie defeated Fritz in three sets on January 4.

Like Fritz’s 7-6, 7-6 victory over Poland’s Hubert Gurkacz on Saturday, the serve dominated the clash between Fritz and Berrettini.

But Berrettini, who lost in three sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final match against Greece on Saturday, lost his temper early in the first tie-break and late in the second, giving Fritz the win.

“I had a lot of chances and he kept using those chances so well that it was really hard for me,” Fritz said.

Pegula won the first three games against Trevisan and then weathered a challenge from the 27th-placed player late in the first set en route to a solid victory.

Pegula, ranked 3rd, said that as the best player on her team of either gender, she wanted to lead by example.

“I wanted to win because I am the No. 1 American on the team. I wanted to accept it. I didn’t want to shy away from it,” she said.

Tiafoe, who finished 19th, was in a dominant position against Musetti when the Italian ended the match at the start of the second set.

The 20-year-old had previously received medical treatment after he lost a 2-5 serve in the first set.

American coach David Witt, who is also Pegula’s individual coach, praised his players for their teamwork.

“It was an honor for me to be their coach and enjoy the time we spent together. It was amazing,” he said.


AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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