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'Bondi Beach here we come': Swiatek propels Poles

Updated: 2024-01-04 09:09
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Zhang Zhizhen of China hits a return to Hubert Hurkacz of Poland during the United Cup tournament in Perth, Australia, on Wednesday. Poland beat China 3-0 to advance to the semifinals. AP

PERTH, Australia — Top-ranked Poland overpowered China on Wednesday, with Hubert Hurkacz and Iga Swiatek propelling the Poles into the United Cup semifinals with a singles sweep.

The pair of straight-set victories in Perth put the tie out of reach and set up a last-four meeting with either Norway or France in Sydney.

Poland then won the mixed doubles to complete a 3-0 win.

Adrian Mannarino and Caroline Garcia had earlier pushed France into a last-eight tie against the Norwegians with victory over Italy.

Hurkacz secured a clinical 6-3,6-4 defeat of Zhang Zhizhen before world No 1 Swiatek followed up, winning nine games on the trot at one point to beat Zheng Qinwen 6-2,6-3 despite losing serve twice.

Swiatek was eager to get to Sydney as the first nation to qualify for the semifinals of the 18-nation mixed team tournament.

"Bondi Beach here we come," she said, after swatting aside Zheng who was the 2023 WTA Most Improved Player. "I'm looking forward to a day off.

"I'm really happy with my game, and also how the atmosphere in the team is," added Swiatek.

"I really feel like we can just be better when we're together, so for sure playing (with Hurkacz) is an exciting thing to do, and I'm real happy with every match that I play here."

Hurkacz fired 10 aces as he dismissed Chinese men's No 1 Zhang.

"It's always a tough match with him. He can play some amazing shots," the winner said.

Novak Djokovic-led Serbia was due to take on Australia in Perth to join Poland in the last four.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion needed treatment on a sore wrist during his win over the Czech Republic's Jiri Lehecka on Tuesday and faces another tough task against Australian No 1 Alex de Minaur.

In Sydney, journeyman Mannarino, who enjoyed his best-ever season last year, swept past Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-4 before Garcia overcame a stubborn Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. It gave France an unassailable 2-0 lead to put it into the knockout rounds.


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