Heartbreaking home loss for Australia in United Cup thriller

Germany has broken hometown hearts following a 2-1 win over Australia to deny the hosts a place in the final against Poland.

Things started well for Australia when Ajla Tomljanovic found herself up 5-1 in the first set. Tomljanovic was up against a former champion on the Sydney court and three-time Grand Slam champion, Angelique Kerber.

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Kerber was looking for her first win on tour since Wimbledon in 2022.

The German was looking good right at the start before falling behind. The experienced player who is making a return from giving birth do a daughter adjusted her tactics and stormed back to 5-4.

A few unforced errors from Kerber saw the Australian close out the first set.

Kerber was on top in the second and then looked to be charging to a memorable win, only to hit a speed bump.

Tomljanovic fought back and eventually the match would be decided in a tiebreaker. The Australian looked to be heading to victory before making several unforced errors to hand Kerber the win.

The final score was 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(7) in favour of Kerber.

The pressure was now on hometown hero, Alex de Minaur. He would face the imposing Alexander Zverev. The German was undefeated at this point.

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In the opening set games went with serve until the 11th game when de Minaur was broken to love. The German served out the set to be in the driver’s seat.

de Minaur held on after a 9 minute 26 second game at 2-all where he save 3 break points.

Two love holds followed before de Minaur pounced in the 8th game. The Australian took advantage of three break points to go to a 5-3 lead. A service hold followed and the match was level.

The Australian broke in the first game of the opening set and held serve to seal the match and send the crowd wild.

The win over the higher-ranked Zverev, de Minaur will achieve another spectacular high as the newest member of the world’s top 10.

“It’s what I’ve worked so hard for, it’s another milestone,” he beamed after closing out the 5-7 6-3 6-4 win in two hours and 41 minutes.

“But the job’s not done … we keep improving, we keep working – it’s going to be a fun Aussie summer.”

Now it would come down to the mixed doubles to see who would advance to the final.

Australia had the undefeated pairing of Storm Hunter and Matthew Ebden, both excellent doubles players with Hunter ranked world no. 1.

The Australians got off to a slow start with Ebden not looking as sharp as he can be.

The first set would go to a tie breaker and it was the Germans that took control.

In the second set it was again a tie breaker that decided the set, this time Australia was in control.

What would follow was an epic 10 point breaker.

Australia were out in front with a mini break before Germany fought back for 5-5.

The pairing of Hunter and Ebden then held match points at 10-9 and 12-11 only to see a Zverev forehand winner save the first and then a Siegemund lob save the second.

On the first Ebden was at the net and had a volley that he hit too short into the courts, that gave Germany another swing at the ball and they lived on.

Finally it was a Hunter unforced error that saw Germany celebrate a 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 15-13 victory to move into the final.

It brought to an end an epic tie that lasted until after 2 am Sydney time.

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