Australia’s inspired United Cup run ends against Germany in semifinals
Australia exits to Germany in the United Cup semifinals after a trio of thrilling three-set matches at Ken Rosewall Arena.
Australia’s inspired run at the United Cup has ended by the narrowest of margins in the semifinals, with Team Germany earning the chance to meet Team Poland in tomorrow’s final after a trio of three-set matches.
Victory for Germany was secured in the mixed doubles, when Laura Siegemund and Alexander Zverev saved two match points against Storm Hunter and Alexander Zverev to claim a 7-6(2) 6-7(2) [15-13] win after two hours and 19 minutes on court.
Ajla Tomljanovic and Alex de Minaur had lit up Ken Rosewall Arena earlier on Saturday evening with their passionate efforts to secure a finals berth for Australia.
But while it wasn’t quite enough for Tomljanovic to convert multiple match points against Angelique Kerber, De Minaur once against found a new level while competing for his nation.
After dropping the first set in the second singles match, the Sydneysider roared back to life with a comeback three-set victory over Alexander Zverev. It marked only his second win over the German in the eight times they have met.
It followed the 24-year-old’s first career win over world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the United Cup quarterfinals against Serbia, and another impressive win over top-10 ranked Taylor Fritz in the round-robin stage.
With victory over the higher-ranked Zverev, De Minaur will achieve another spectacular high as the newest member of the world’s top 10.
“It’s what I’ve worked so hard for, it’s another milestone,” he beamed after closing out the 5-7 6-3 6-4 win in two hours and 41 minutes.
“But the job’s not done … we keep improving, we keep working – it’s going to be a fun Aussie summer.”
Tomljanovic set the scene for a fighting performance for the host nation, as she played her heart out against the returning Angelique Kerber in the opening match.
The Australian dropped serve in the first game of the match but seized five straight games on her way to claiming a 6-4 win in the opening set.
After losses to Jasmine Paolini, Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari, Kerber was desperate to make a statement in her comeback. Shots started landing with more authority and accuracy for the German, who levelled the match by securing the second set.
The third set was one of the most absorbing contests of the Australian summer so far, as Tomljanovic recovered from a 2-4 deficit to force a tiebreak. Producing some stunning winners under extreme pressure, the 30-year-old Australian held two match points.
Kerber, however, called on the grit that took her to world No.1 and three Grand Slam titles. She piled on the pressure to save each of those match points and successfully converted the first of her own, triumphing 4-6 6-2 7-6(7).
The two hour, 34-minute win was the first in Kerber’s comeback after the birth of her baby daughter, Liana, in February last year.
Siegemund and Zverev held their nerve in a gripping encounter against the Australians. They saved two match points in the tense match tiebreak, before finally converting on the fifth match point of their own.
Aussies in action – United Cup semifinal
Germany d Australia 2-1
Angelique Kerber (GER) d Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 4-6 6-2 7-6(7)
Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Alexander Zverev (GER) 5-7 6-3 6-4
Laura Siegemund/Alexander Zverev (GER) d Storm Hunter/Matt Ebden (AUS) 7-6(2) 6-7(2) [15-13]
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