Britain, Spain off to a flier at United Cup as new season begins

The revamped $10 million tournament that features 18 countries will culminate in the final on January 7.

By Reuters

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Great Britain's Katie Boulter in action against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic (not pictured) during their women's singles at the United Cup tennis tournament in Perth on Saturday. - AFP
Great Britain's Katie Boulter in action against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic (not pictured) during their women's singles at the United Cup tennis tournament in Perth on Saturday. - AFP

Published: Sat 30 Dec 2023, 9:23 AM

Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter handed Britain a 2-0 win over hosts Australia on the opening day of the United Cup mixed team tournament on Friday, as the new tennis season began after a short break with the focus on next month's Australian Open.

Spain beat Brazil 2-1 in a thrilling start to the revamped $10 million tournament that features 18 countries with ties also set to take place in Sydney with the final scheduled for Jan. 7.

World number ones Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek are among the big names who will be in action in the coming days as they warm up for the opening Grand Slam of the new year which will run from Jan. 14-28 in Melbourne.

Norrie overcame a dip midway through his Group C clash with Alex de Minaur to prevail 6-4 2-6 7-6(2) at the packed RAC Arena and snap his nine-match losing streak against opponents ranked inside the world's top 20.

Britain's Cameron Norrie serves to Australia's Alex de Minaur during their men's singles at the United Cup. - AFP
Britain's Cameron Norrie serves to Australia's Alex de Minaur during their men's singles at the United Cup. - AFP

De Minaur's British girlfriend Boulter then settled the tie with a 6-2 6-4 victory over the fit-again Ajla Tomljanovic, who missed the majority of last season due to a knee injury that required surgery.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and mixed doubles partner Sara Sorribes Tormo earlier beat the pair of Beatriz Haddad Maia and Marcelo Melo 6-4 7-5 in the decider of the Group A tie between Spain and Brazil.

United Cup debutant Davidovich Fokina put Spain up 1-0 by defeating Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-4 6-0 in the first match of the 2024 season, dominating his opponent from the baseline and not facing a break point throughout the contest.

But Brazil hit back through world number 11 Haddad Maia, who downed Sorribes Tormo 7-6(1) 6-2 in a rematch of their marathon French Open fourth-round clash earlier this year.

Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo (L) and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in action against Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia and Marcelo Melo. - AFP
Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo (L) and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in action against Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia and Marcelo Melo. - AFP

"To come back and play with Sara, I think we had a great time on court and we enjoyed a lot," world number 26 Davidovich Fokina told reporters.

"We didn't care... obviously we care, but the result was like the last thing. We were enjoying out there, just to keep improving also."

The Czech Republic will meet China and Poland play Brazil in Perth on Saturday while the Netherlands take on Norway and Italy face Germany in Sydney.

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