Germany clinched the 2024 United Cup in an enthralling final against Poland at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.
Captained by Torben Beltz, Germany prevailed 2-1 over the Poles after a thrilling mixed doubles victory by Laura Siegemund and Alexander Zverev. The German pair defeated Iga Świątek and Hubert Hurkacz in a match tie break 6-4, 5-7, (10-4) that finished at 12.45am.
It was Siegemund who would prove to be the standout player on the court, brilliantly showcasing her renowned doubles prowess and inspiring Zverev who had shouldered a mighty workload all week.
Zverev had earlier saved two match points in the second set against fellow top 10 singles rival Hurkacz in winning 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 to send the final to a decisive mixed rubber. The German’s cross court forehand winner past a net rushing Hurkacz on the second of the match points just clipped the sideline and will remain long in the memory. The Poles were literally millimetres away from winning their first United Cup trophy.
Earlier, world No. 1 Świątek had kick started the final with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Angelique Kerber (who chose to return to the tour at this event after a lengthy maternity absence).
Germany had come through a gruelling semi final against Australia the night before. Kerber saved two match points in defeating Ajla Tomljanovic in the opening rubber 4-6, 6-2, 7-6, notching her first singles win of the week at a most critical stage.
Alex de Minaur, fresh from a victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the group stage in Perth, then rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win over Zverev and also ensured he became the first Australian male to reach a top 10 ranking in singles since his captain Lleyton Hewitt in 2006.
The mixed decider was a classic with the Germans winning in a match tiebreak over Storm Hunter and Matthew Ebden 7-6, 6-7, (15-13), but not before Siegemund had saved one of two match points with a nerveless lob over Hunter.
The semi final did not finish until 2.19am on the Sunday morning giving the Germans little time to prepare for the final commencing at 5.30pm the same day. Somehow they, and in particular Zverev, did. Germany’s non playing team members Tatjana Maria, Kai Wehnelt and Max Marterer were on standby for the final but in the end lent support from the sidelines.
Poland, captained by Tomasz Wiktorowski (also Świątek’s personal coach), had swept past France 3-0 during the day semi final on the Saturday but were unable to ultimately capitalise on this advantage. Świątek was teary after the final showing how much the event meant to the multiple Grand Slam champion.