SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — A composed Taylor Fritz downed Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in a battle of top 10 players to power the United States into the final of the inaugural United Cup, where it will meet either Italy or Greece.
The world No. 9 was too good for his big-serving opponent, ranked one place behind him, winning 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.
Fritz came into the match with the United States already 2-0 ahead in the tie after Jessica Pegula stunned world No. 1 Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-2 on Friday and Frances Tiafoe swept past Kacper Zuk 6-3, 6-3.
They now have an insurmountable 3-0 lead with Madison Keys still to play Magda Linette.
“It was great to get the win today and get us through, but I had no doubt that if I were to lose the rest of the team would have come through,” Fritz said.
“I think the difference in the tiebreakers was I just served well and I put some returns in the court, played some really solid points and didn’t give him anything.”
“I’m super excited going into the finals and I think we have been the favorites all week,” he said.
Fritz earned the first break points of the match at 4-4 after stepping up pressure on the booming Hurkacz serve but the lanky Pole saved them both.
Hurkacz turned the tables to earn two set points at 5-4 but he too was denied and it went to a tiebreak, where the American dug deep when the Pole netted a backhand.
They went toe-to-toe in the second set, with Hurkacz slamming his racquet to the ground at one point as his frustrations grew.
It again went to the tiebreak, where two unforced errors from the Pole gave Fritz match point. He made no mistake, with Hurkacz again throwing his racquet.
Italy also took a 2-0 lead over Greece into day two of the semifinals.