The Czech Republic offered little resistance against the USA in the first two matches of the inaugural United Cup, a joint ATP and WTA event being played in three Australian cities, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
I think in the beginning of the match I handled it much better than maybe my opponent did. I got the early break, then kind of just held on to it Taylor Fritz
The five-match ties consist of two men’s singles, two women’s singles and a mixed doubles. This year’s event, which replaces the ATP Cup, involves 18 nations split into six groups and marks the start of the 2023 season for both the ATP and WTA.
Taylor Fritz and Madison Keys secured their first wins of the ‘new year’ in Sydney without dropping a set as, like all the competitors at the event, they warm-up for the first major, the Australian Open in Melbourne which starts on the 16th January.
The 25-year-old Fritz, who had a breakthrough year in 2022 when he broke into the world’s top 20 and then reach a career high ranking of 8 in October, had too much firepower for Lehecka, facing only two break points on his way to his 75-minute victory.
“It was the first match of the season and also playing a team event as well adds to it (the nerves),” he said following his win while revealing he was nervous before the start.
“I think in the beginning of the match I handled it much better than maybe my opponent did. I got the early break, then kind of just held on to it.”
Keys, who made the Australian Open semi-finals last January, came back from an early break of serve in both sets to see off Bouzkova in 80-minutes.
The former US Open finalist overpowered her Czech opponent from the baseline, taking full advantage of the quick conditions on centre court.
Meanwhile in Brisbane, Italy and Brazil are locked at one rubber apiece after the early session.
Beatriz Haddad Maia, the Brazilian world number 15, was far too strong for Martina Trevisan, dropping just two games on her way to a 6-2 6-0 victory.
“I worked very hard to push myself to play my best tennis,” Haddad Maia said. “I worked very hard in the pre-season to be as ready as I could today.”
Lorenzo Musetti levelled the tie at one-all when he downed Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3 6-4.
Later in the day, Greek world number four Stephanos Tsitsipas is scheduled to play Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in Perth while Britain’s Cameron Norrie takes on Australia’s Alex De Minaur in Sydney.