Taylor Fritz clinches finals spot for U.S. at mixed teams United Cup

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Taylor Fritz produced a composed performance against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz to clinch a spot for the United States in the final of the United Cup mixed teams tournament.

Fritz stepped onto Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney with the U.S. holding a 2-0 lead after strong efforts from Jessica Pegula and Frances Tiafoe in the opening singles matches.

Pitted against fellow top 10-ranked rival Hurkacz, the 25-year-old Fritz prevailed 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) to give the Americans an unassailable 3-0 lead in the semifinal.

The reigning Indian Wells Masters champion has represented America in the Davis Cup but said combining with the country’s best women players enhanced the experience in the new competition.

“I have played with Team USA a lot and I think it is a huge advantage this time having the girls in our team because it just makes the whole team so much stronger,” he said. “I am super excited going into the finals and I think we have been the favorites all week.”

The U.S. awaits the winner of the other semifinal between Italy and Greece in the inaugural 18-nation competition carrying $15 million in prize money.

The Italians lead 2-0 and Greece needs Stefanos Tsitsipas to defeat Matteo Berrettini in their singles matches in Sydney to keep alive its United Cup finals hopes.

In the match between the world’s ninth- and 10th-ranked men, Fritz and Hurkacz initially dictated proceedings on serve. But as the opening set progressed, the games became tighter.

Fritz pushed his Polish rival to deuce on his service game at 4-all but was then forced to save two set points on his own delivery in the following game.

The tiebreaker to decide the set was similarly tight, but a superb backhand from Fritz after a lengthy rally enabled the American to clinch it.

Little separated the two players in the second set either, with neither able to break their rivals serve once again. But once in the tiebreaker, the American again proved more reliable at critical moments.

Fritz had success during rallies targeting the forehand wing of the world No. 10, drawing errors on crucial points. This proved the downfall of Hurkacz, who was clearly angered after making three forehand mistakes in succession to drop a tiebreaker he had led 5-4.

The pair had not played against each other since 2019, when they split matches on grass in England and hard court in Canada, and both men have matured as players since then.

“From four years ago, I am moving so much better, I am returning serve so much better and being aggressive with the forehand . . . and going after shots when it matters,” Fritz said.

“No one could really get through for a (service break) but I think the difference in the tiebreakers is that I served well and put some returns in the court, played some really solid points and didn’t give him anything.”

Elena Rybakina hits 10 aces in Miami for 12th straight win

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina extended her winning streak to 12 matches by delivering 10 aces – her fourth consecutive outing with at least that many – in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 25th-seeded Martina Trevisan in the Miami Open quarterfinals.

Rybakina has 46 aces through four matches at the hard-court tournament in Florida and a WTA-leading 201 this season.

The 23-year-old, who represents Kazakhstan, improved to 20-4 in 2023, including a run to the Australian Open final in January and a title at Indian Wells, California, last week.

She is trying to become only the fifth player to win the women’s trophies at Indian Wells and Miami in the same season. Top-ranked Iga Swiatek did it a year ago; she withdrew from Miami this time because of a rib injury.

“Of course it would be amazing to achieve something like that,” the 10th-seeded Rybakina said about the prospect of completing what’s known as the Sunshine Double, “but it’s still far away.”

So far in Rybakina’s career, 13 of her 18 semifinal appearances have come on hard courts. She will face No. 3 Jessica Pegula for a berth in the final after the American fought off two match points and outlasted No. 27 Anastasia Potapova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a match that ended just before 1:30 a.m. after play had been delayed by rain.

“I haven’t been that physically tired in just a really long time,” Pegula said. “Just the humidity was taking so much out of me, and I haven’t been able to play in humidity like that in a while. It was just really tough, so really, it was just pure will.”

Trevisan reached the French Open semifinals in 2022.

In fourth-round men’s action Tuesday, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-4 by No. 14 Karen Khachanov, while defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner all beat seeded opponents in straight sets.

Alcaraz, who returned to No. 1 in the ATP rankings last week, got past Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting against Fritz, the top-ranked American man and seeded ninth in Miami.

Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune. That put Fritz into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances in Miami – and his first matchup against Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain who won the U.S. Open in September for his first Grand Slam title.

“I’m really excited for it,” Fritz said. “I think that a lot of people are really excited for that, too.”

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori, a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 winner against No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp.

No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, forced to start late and off his scheduled court after the rain, beat Quentin Halys 6-4, 6-2. He will face American Christopher Eubanks, who edged Adrian Mannarino in a pair of tiebreakers.

Khachanov will play Francisco Cerundolo, a semifinalist in Miami last year, in the other men’s quarterfinal.

Fritz, Sinner reach Miami Open quarterfinals with 2-set wins

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner beat seeded opponents in straight sets at the Miami Open to move into the quarterfinals.

No. 9 Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune.

That put Fritz, the highest-ranked American man, into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances at the hard-court tournament.

He will face either No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz or Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul next. Alcaraz is the defending champion in Miami.

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp or unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori.