Australia’s Alex De Minaur backed up his upset of Novak Djokovic by defeating Alexander Zverev Saturday, but it was not enough to prevent Germany booking a United Cup final against Poland.
De Minaur battled past the world number seven 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to send the tie to a deciding mixed doubles after Angelique Kerber dug deep to beat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).
But Zverev made amends, partnering Laura Siegemund to claw past Storm Hunter and Matt Ebdon 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (2/7), 15-13 in a see-sawing match which finished at 2:18am and saw them save four match points.
Earlier, world number one Iga Swiatek led top seeds Poland to a 3-0 sweep of France to make their first final after crashing in the semis last year to eventual champions the United States.
De Minaur has now earned three consecutive wins against top 10 players, having also beaten Taylor Fritz in an ideal build-up to the Australian Open.
His straight sets victory over Djokovic in the quarter-finals was his first over a world number one.
“This is my favourite court in the whole world and every time I step out here I get goosebumps,” De Minaur said of the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.
“It’s what I’ve worked so hard for. It’s another milestone, but the job’s not done,” he added of surging into the top 10.
Zverev looked comfortable in the opening set, but a forehand winner down the line from De Minaur to break for 5-3 in the second swung the momentum.
From that point on, with the crowd roaring him on, he was in charge.
Three-time Grand Slam champions Kerber came from a set down and saved two match points to defeat Tomljanovic and post the first win of her comeback from maternity leave to give Germany a 1-0 lead.
“I think we both played at a really high level,” she said. “For me, it’s the first singles win after coming back and it’s really a great feeling.”
Swiatek and teammate Hubert Hurkacz swept top seeds Poland into the final with a hard-fought victory over France.
Hurkacz, at a career-high nine, defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5 before Swiatek toppled Caroline Garcia 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.
“I’m happy that I came back and I didn’t make so many mistakes as in the first set,” Swiatek said.
“Sometimes it’s a bit hard to point (to) one thing that changed (after the first set). I just feel like I needed to calm down a little bit and not rush it,” she added.
Garcia was France’s saviour in their 2-1 win over Norway in the quarter-finals, coming through a titanic struggle against unheralded Malene Helgo, then backing up to win in mixed doubles.
She again displayed her fighting spirit in breaking Swiatek for a 4-3 lead and taking the first set in 43 minutes.
But that was as good as it got for the world number 20, who folded as Swiatek moved through the gears to dominate the rest of the match
A steady Hurkacz played well in the critical moments and held serve with few problems to close out his match in 1hr and 41mins.
“I think definitely today was a real battle,” said Hurkacz, who won the Shanghai Masters last year and also tasted victory at Marseille.
“Adrian was playing really, really tricky shots and it’s difficult to play against.”
Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –