Fritz blasts past Zverev as USA leads Germany at United Cup

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Germany's Alexander Zverev reacts after losing a point to United States' Taylor Fritz during their Group C match at the United Cup tennis event in Sydney, Australia, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

SYDNEY – Taylor Fritz took advantage of a dominant serve to beat Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4 as the United States moved past Germany Monday to reach the City Finals at the United Cup mixed teams event in Sydney.

Team USA will qualify from Group C to face Great Britain in Wednesday’s City Finals. Team GB have a 2-0 record in Group D after wins over Australia and Spain. The winner of the City Finals will advance to the United Cup Final Four, which begins on Friday in Sydney.

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Ninth-ranked Fritz won 96 percent (26/27) of first serve points and backed that up with accurate ball-striking to beat 12th-ranked Zverev in 64 minutes.

Fritz raced to an early lead, winning the first five games of the match as he stepped into the court to finish points set up by his serve.

He kept the pressure on to beat Zverev who was playing for only the second time since June when he damaged ligaments in his right ankle during his semifinal against Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

The 25-year-old Fritz is now 3-4 in head to head meetings with Zverev and is 2-0 at the United Cup after beating Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic in his opening match.

Madison Keys followed Fritz on court and extended the United States' lead to 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Jule Niemeier, her second victory of the season. The match continues Tuesday when Jessica Pegula faces Laura Siegemund and Francis Tiafore meets Oscar Otte.

Keys comfortably won Monday’s clash of baseliners in just over 70 minutes, her power and pinpoint serving proving too much for the 23-year-old German.

While Keys served at 77 percent and lost just six points behind her first serve, Niemeier struggled with the rhythm of her serve and opened with three double faults to give her opponent an early break. Niemeier finished with seven double faults.

“I think overall I played really solid,” Keys said. “I just tried to make as many first serves as possible to make things as easy as a tennis match could be.”


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