Home Australia Poland advance to United Cup final, as Iga Świątek beats Caroline Garcia to give her team unbeatable 2-0 lead over France

Poland advance to United Cup final, as Iga Świątek beats Caroline Garcia to give her team unbeatable 2-0 lead over France

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World number one Iga Świątek has survived an early scare to clinch Poland’s spot in the United Cup final and a possible showdown with hosts Australia, as her team beat France in Sydney.

Świątek was taken to three sets by former world number four Caroline Garcia, before prevailing 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 to wrap up the tie.

Earlier, Hubert Hurkacz had given Poland the lead with a straight sets win over Adrian Mannarino. Poland will now face the winner of tonight’s second semifinal between Australia and Germany in Sunday’s final.

Playing for an unbeatable 2-0 lead, Świątek struggled early against the world number 20 Caroline Garcia, whose energy and timing was superior after she earned the vital break in the seventh game of the opening set.

A frustrated Świątek could not get Garcia to hand back the break, and the Frenchwoman secured the lead, winning 6-3.

The four-time major title winner was not to be deterred, however. She fought back and grabbed a break in the second game of the second set, and Garcia had no answer as her opponent swept through the set 6-1 to level the match.

A quick break in the opening game gave the advantage to Świątek. Garcia continued to apply pressure, and she had break point opportunities in the second game, but could not convert, and once Świątek held for 2-0 and then broke Garcia again, the air went out of the contest.

Garcia served to stay in the match in the seventh game, but an opening double fault was followed by winners on opposing wings by Świątek, before a backhand error from the French player ended proceedings.

Świątek was happy with the result and admitted it had not been an easy match.

“I felt there was a lot of tension, also the crowd was so loud that you really needed to stay focused and not think about anything else,” she said.

“I’m happy that I came back and I didn’t make so many mistakes as in the first set but …Caro was putting pressure as usual. So I’m happy that we’re through to the final.

“I felt like sometimes I was off [on] the timing. Maybe because we came from Perth. But for sure, I needed some time to adjust and I did that so I’m happy.”

To start the day, the big-serving world number nine Hurkacz beat the crafty Mannarino, ranked 22 in the world, 6-3, 7-5 in Sydney on Saturday morning.

He called the shots in a comfortable first set then overcame Mannarino’s awkward style in an even second set.

The Pole ripped a forehand to break in the 11th game then zoomed through his service game to seal it in one hour and 41 minutes.

Hurkacz won 31 of 36 points when landing his first serve and bombed 15 aces past Mannarino.

“He’s really difficult to play against; I was just fighting for every point and I was able stay positive and was really resilient today,” Hurkacz said.

The dead rubber mixed doubles went ahead, with Poland completing their victory as Katarzyna Kawa and Jan Zieliński defeated Elixane Lechemia and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-3.

Alex de Minaur and Ajla Tomljanovic will power Australia’s charge against Germany later on Saturday night.

World number seven Alexander Zverev is de Minaur’s next target after taking down Novak Djokovic in Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

But Zverev holds a 6-1 head-to-head edge over the world number 12.

“The last time we played was Rome 2022, so that’s a while back,” Zverev said.

“Things have changed a little bit. I think he’s gotten a lot better, closing in on the top 10 as well.

“He’s going to be very motivated and the whole team, Australia, is going to be very motivated.”

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