Italy secure spot in final after beating Greece in Sydney


Italy won its way into the final of the inaugural United Cup in comprehensive fashion, despite a heroic three-set win from Stefanos Tsitsipas over Matteo Berrettini.

Coming into Saturday’s last three matches with a 2-0 lead, the Italians only needed to secure one more win to advance to take on the USA in the decider.

It looked like they’d do so at the first time of asking as Berrettini led by a set and had a break point midway through the second, only for Tsitsipas to roar back and win 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4, much to the delight of the massive Greek crowd at Ken Rosewall Arena.

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Epic rally sets up match point, Tsitsipas converts

The big moment in the third set came at 3-2 in Berrettini’s favour, when Tsitsipas saved a break point then broke the Italian a game later.

“I hung in there, I was waiting for my chances – he’s a big server as well, he hits some bombs consistently so you have to let yourself accept a few and move on from that point,” he said afterwards.

“I played a very good game on that game that I broke, I was able to play with a lot of intensity and I think my concentration peaked in that particular game.”

Bronzetti’s match was for all the marbles after Berrettini’s epic against Tsitsipas, and had she lost, the tournament’s top-seeded team could have completed a comeback with a win in the mixed doubles – with Tsitsipas joined by fellow superstar Maria Sakkari.

An imposing prospect for Team Italy, but one that was quickly avoided – Bronzetti sweeping aside Valentini Grammatikopoulou 6-2, 6-3.

“It’s a special moment to bring this important point to Italy,” Bronzetti said afterwards.

“I’m so excited, I’m so happy right now – I don’t have words.”

Originally set to play Despina Papamichail, the Greeks pulled a late switch and produced Grammatikopoulou instead – who had two wins over Bronzetti in the past two years, including in the qualifiers for the 2021 US Open.

“I played against her four times; two I won and two I lost so it’s not easy … I’m proud of myself,” she said.

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