Team USA beats Italy to win inaugural United Cup

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The United States claimed the inaugural United Cup on Monday in convincing fashion with an overpowering display over Italy in the final of the mixed teams event.

No. 9-ranked Taylor Fritz gave the U.S. an unassailable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five matchup when edging former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7).

The Indian Wells Masters champion failed to convert nine break points but faced none on his own serve and proved the steadier player in the two tiebreakers.

He was mobbed by his teammates at Ken Rosewall Arena after clinching the title for the Americans.

“We came in with really high hopes before the start of the event and I was really happy to be in the position to clinch the match and just the emotions when you win and everyone comes running at you, it is amazing,” Fritz said.

“We have gotten a lot of team bonding this week and it was a lot of fun.”Jessica Pegula put the U.S. on the path to victory by beating Martina Trevisan 6-4, 6-2, continuing her strong form, which included a win over top-ranked Iga Swiatek on Friday.

Frances Tiafoe, a 2022 US Open semifinalist, extended the lead when Lorenzo Musetti withdrew with a shoulder injury after losing the first set of their match 6-2.

Madison Keys continued the U.S. dominance in the final when defeating Lucia Bronzetti 6-3, 7-2 in what was rendered a dead rubber in terms of the title.

The U.S. were considered favorites for the 18-nation tournament based on the strength of a team where all four singles players were ranked inside the world’s top 20.

Heading into the final, the U.S. had lost just two of the 20 rubbers they played in ties against the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain and Poland.

Dual-Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated Pegula in the opening tie of the event, while 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist Cameron Norrie beat Fritz in three sets on Jan. 4.—APP