United Cup: Jason Kubler continues perfect start to season
Jason Kubler continued his perfect season start with an upset of Albert Ramos-Vinolas, helping Australia's comeback United Cup victory over Spain.
Jason Kubler rose to the occasion once more to send Australia’s United Cup tie against Spain into a mixed doubles decider.
Kubler scored a spirited 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over the higher-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Tuesday night to lock the Sydney tie up two rubbers apiece.
Kubler’s victory, four nights after an equally rousing win over Britain’s Dan Evans, gave playing co-captain Sam Stosur and Tokyo Olympics mixed bronze medallist John Peers the chance to seal Australia’s first United Cup tie.
The veteran Australians teamed brilliantly on a stormy night at Ken Rosewall Arena, claiming a straight-sets win over Jessica Bouzas Maneiro and David Vega Hernandez in less than an hour.
“It’s unbelievable for me for me to have two of my best wins here in Australia, it’s really special,” said Kubler, who relished the time spent with Australian team-mates in Sydney.
“But also, off the court it’s been special. I got to hang out with all the Australians. Got to even get even closer with some of the people I didn’t know as well. But also, strengthen friendships and, you know, have the feeling that we have each other’s backs.”.
Stosur and Peers defeated Bouzas Maneiro and Vega Hernandez 6-2 6-3 in the deciding mixed doubles rubber to earn Australia a 3-2 comeback victory.
At one point early in the second set it seemed the winner-takes-all rubber would be suspended after a series of lightning bolts in the surrounding suburbs.
Eager to spend as little time on court as possible, Stosur – Australia’s playing co-captain – and Peers wrapped up the victory inside an hour.
The tie was locked at one match apiece after Alex de Minaur upset Rafael Nadal on Monday night, before Maddison Inglis lost to Nuria Parrizas Diaz to level proceedings.
On Tuesday, emerging star Olivia Gadecki lost 6-2 6-2 to the 193rd-ranked Bouzas Maneiro in her United Cup debut.
A late call-up to replace the injured Zoe Hives, Gadecki was making her first appearance in the green and gold since a Billie Jean King Cup doubles debut in November 2021.
Formerly coached by David Taylor, the esteemed ex-mentor of Stosur, Alicia Molik, Martina Hingis and Naomi Osaka, Gadecki made a swift rise up the rankings to a career-high No.156 in July last year.
Ash Barty has also taken Gadecki under her wing and will be courtside for her AO main-draw debut at Melbourne Park, after the 20-year-old was handed a wildcard entry from Tennis Australia.
While Gadecki has fallen out of the women’s top 200, Kubler is set to soar to a new career-high ranking of around 80th next Monday following his two wins in Sydney.
The 29-year-old’s new standing is nothing less than he deserves, after he was Australia’s last player standing at the French Open and then reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in July.
But he was denied a swag of rankings points after the ATP opted against awarding them at Wimbledon in protest at the All England Club’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players because of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.