Germany Wins 2024 United Cup Title With Late-Night Triumph Against Poland

Team Germany at Sydney Harbour (photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour)

SYDNEY/WASHINGTON, January 7, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

No strangers to comebacks or late-night finishes after eliminating Australia 2-1 in semifinals in the very wee hours of Sunday morning, Germany stunned favored Poland 2-1 to win the 2024 United Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney early Monday morning.

Trailing 1-0 in the championship tie after World No. 1 Iga Swiatek defeated Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 6-0, Alexander Zverev saved two championship points against Hubert Hurkacz and won 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), 6-4 in a nearly-three-hour thriller that gave Germany new life.

Soon, after a brief respite, Zverev returned after midnight to team with Laura Siegemund in mixed doubles. Together, they beat Hurkacz and Swiatek in three sets, decided by a match tie-break, 6-4, 5-7, 10-4, for a very satisfying come-from-behind triumph over Poland that ended at 12:45 a.m. local time.

Germany, which finished second in Group D and reached the quarterfinals based on percentage of games won, was carried by Zverev and Siegemund. They won three consecutive deciding mixed doubles matches. First, in the quarterfinals against Greece on Friday, then, in their semifinal victory over Australia and, again, in the final versus Poland.

“It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s been a pleasure and it’s been absolutely so much fun for everybody to be part of this team, especially for me,” said Zverev as he addressed his teammates during the United Cup trophy ceremony. “I really thank you guys for being part of this. I really couldn’t be happier be sharing this trophy with anybody than you guys. …

“Congrats to Team Poland, amazing run. It was a matter of millimeters today for you guys to be the champions,” Zverev added. “I know it is upsetting, but you guys all have I think an amazing season ahead. Hubi and Iga, especially, I think. Iga, congratulations on the MVP. I said it before in an interview, I think having you on a team is like having a cheat code on a video game, so it’s amazing what you’ve been doing for the past few years and I think you have a big season ahead.”

Later, during Team Germany’s news conference, first-time captain Torben Beltz said: “I’m very proud of my team and very honored to be part of this United Cup this year. I’m very happy that we won the title. Yeah, it was really crazy run.”

Meanwhile, Siegemund spoke about her role in helping win the title.

“I have to say that because of all these match points that we saved, and Angie and Sascha saved, when I was warming up outside and when he saved those match points, and then when he was going up in the third set, and then in the end winning, I really thought to myself, we have to make this happen somehow,” Siegemund said, “This is the kind of match where you can’t fail. You just can’t have that.

“In the end you still always have to play. I mean, the will doesn’t carry you, but I think we played really concentrated from the beginning. We are a great pair. I thought it was pretty amazing how Sascha could, you know, still focus and keep his strengths, like the serve and everything up like that, because it’s not easy when you’re starting to get tired. Mixed is a very fast game and one mistake can cost you the match.

“So, I’m really proud how he handled that. It’s not easy. And I knew that what my job was, and I just wanted it very, very badly.”