United Cup: Madison Keys, Alize Cornet start off strong in season opener

The 2023 season's has gotten underway in Australia

by Abbey Johnson
United Cup: Madison Keys, Alize Cornet start off strong in season opener

The inaugural United Cup heralded the start of the 2023 season Down Under. The tournament that replaced the ATP Cup this season features 18 countries grouped into clusters of three, divided into six groups. The event, featuring men and women, will offer points to the participants, and is being played concurrently in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.

On the first day of play, the United States went up 2-0 against the Czech Republic in their Group C match in Sydney in the morning session. In the women’s singles match, Madison Keys defeated Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 20 minutes.

Keys came from down a break across the two sets to claim the win against her 24th-ranked opponent. Earlier, Taylor Fritz won the men’s singles match for the US against Jiri Lehecka, 6-3, 6-4.

United Cup: Australia's slow start

Meanwhile, home team Australia fell behind 0-2 on the first day after losing both the men’s and women’s singles matches against Great Britain.

The Group D encounter in Sydney saw Britain’s Katie Swan defeat Zoe Hives, 6-4, 6-3. Earlier, British no. 1 Cameron Norrie got through against Alex de Minaur, 6-3, 6-3. Greece also posted a 2-0 result against Bulgaria in their Group A clash in Perth.

In the women’s singles, Despina Papamichail overcame a resilient Isabella Shinikova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Papamichail needed more than two hours to secure the win, overturning a deficit of a set and break in the process. Meanwhile, Greece’s no.

1 Stefanos Tsitsipas also posted a similar three-set win against Grigor Dimitrov, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4). In the other clash played in Perth, in the evening session, France took on Argentina in Group F. Alize Cornet gave France a 1-0 momentum after defeating Maria Carle, 6-2, 6-1 in their match.

Lastly, in Brisbane, Group B and Group E played their matches. Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic defeated Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva, 7-6(0), 6-3 in the Group B clash. On the other hand, Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia won against Italy’s Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-0 in their Group E encounter.

The same teams will resume their matches on Friday at the United Cup, with a men’s and women’s singles match to be played. Depending on the score, if it’s a tie between two teams, a mixed-doubles match will be contested to determine the final winner of the match-up.

Madison Keys Alize Cornet