The inaugural United Cup moves into the knockout stages with the United States emerging as one of the four nations advancing into the semifinals in Australia. USA will take on Poland on Thursday in Sydney for a spot in the final.
Read on as we preview this fascinating semifinal tilt, analyze the key matchups and storylines going into the semifinals and weigh in on the tennis odds.
USA vs Poland
- USA -225
- Poland +165
USA Beats Great Britain in City Finals
After Taylor Fritz and Madison Keys propelled team USA into the city finals with Great Britain, it was Frances Tiafoe’s turn to be the hero. The American battled Dan Evans, coming from a set down to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 and clinch USA’s spot in the semifinals.
Team USA has had an impressive run in the competition, going 4-1 against the Czech Republic in their Group C opener. Against Germany, they needed only two points to ensure their place at the top of the table. Fritz got the team going with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Alexander Zverev. Keys then delivered with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Julie Niemeier.
In the final, Keys gave the Americans the early 1-0 lead after rallying from a set down to defeat Katie Swan 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Britain’s No. 1 Cameron Norrie leveled the tie with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over Fritz before Jessica Pegula stepped in to move Team USA in front with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Harriet Dart.
Tiafoe completed the tie with a three-set win over Evans, thus clinching Team USA’s passage into the knockouts. Tiafoe improved to a perfect 3-0 record to start his 2023 campaign.
LOCKED IN 🔒
— United Cup (@UnitedCupTennis) January 4, 2023
Poland Edges Italy to Advance
Team Poland advanced into the final four with a hard-fought win over Italy in the city finals. The top-billing of Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz came through for the Poles, beating Lorezo Musetti and Camilla Rosatello 6-1, 6-2 in the final rubber to take the 3-2 victory.
Swiatek and compatriot Magda Linette won their respective singles rubbers, crucially drawing the tie level each time after their male counterparts lost their respective rubbers. Hurkacz was bested by Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Daniel Michalski lost to Musetti 6-1, 6-1.
Swiatek improved to a perfect 3-0 in singles play, kicking off her 2023 in fine style.
POLAND GOING TO SYDNEY!
Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz beat Camila Rosatello and Lorenzo Musetti 6-1, 6-2 and Poland beats Italy 3-2 to reach the semifinals of the United Cup.
Both teams into the last 4 — Italy advances as the best ‘loser’! pic.twitter.com/uQxy7nwrNr
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 4, 2023
USA vs Poland Betting Prediction
Both the USA and Poland went into the competition as two of the top favorites to win outright. Now, with a meeting in the semifinals on the cards, only one will get the chance to fulfill that promise.
By the overarching tennis odds, Team USA is expected to advance. However, Poland is more than capable of delivering the upset in this tie. On an individual level, Swiatek gives the Poles the X-factor. If it comes down to the wire, as in the city final versus Italy, the mixed pairing of Swiatek and Hurkacz could see the Poles through to the final past the USA.
Match 1: Swiatek vs Pegula
- Time: Thursday, Jan. 5, 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN. Tennis Channel
World No. 1 Swiatek is Poland’s biggest weapon. The fact that she advances into this stage of the competition having won all her matches is a positive sign.
Swiatek is set to open the semis against Pegula. She is 4-1 over 28-year-old American, which includes a four-match winning streak in 2022.
More likely than not, Swiatek is poised to win the opening tie over Pegula. She is priced as the -450 favorite to win (bet $450 to win $100) on the moneyline, but the better value bet is the games handicap where Swiatek is laying -4½. Swiatek has covered this number in all four wins over Pegula.
- Pick: Swiatek -4½ (-120)
Match 2:Tiafoe vs Michalski
- Time: Thursday, Jan. 5, 11:30 p.m. ET
- Live Stream: TennisTV
Tiafoe gets a seemingly straightforward prospect against Michalski on Thursday, though the pair have never met. Tiafoe is the whopping -4000 favorite (bet $4000 to win $100) while Michalski is the 950 underdog (bet $100 to win $950).
The Tiafoe vs Michalski match will follow Swiatek vs. Pegula and, depending on the outcome of the first, the premium on the win will be greater accordingly. Tiafoe is the better bet to give Team USA the point, but Michalski can’t be underestimated either.
- Pick: Michalski + 6½ (Ev)
Match 3: Linette vs Keys
- Time: Friday Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN. Tennis Channel
With Swiatek and Pegula meeting in the first rubber, the second women’s singles contest is going to feature Linette vs Keys. The American is favored at -180 (bet $180 to win $100) on the moneyline, but the Pole, priced at +140 (bet $100 to win $140) is a dangerous floater that is more than capable of delivering the upset. Linette is 1-1 with Keys lifetime, having split their meetings in 2022.
- Pick: Linette +140
Match 4: Fritz vs Hurkacz
- Time: Friday Jan. 6, 9:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN. Tennis Channel
Arguably, the key match will be the second men’s singles contest between Taylor Fritz vs Hubert Hurkacz. The winner of this contest is likely to put his country in a strong position. Fritz and Hurkacz are tied 1-1 head-to-head, making this a toss-up for tennis picks. Hurkacz is priced at Evens while Fritz is the -140 favorite (bet$140 to win $100).
- Pick: Hurkacz (Ev)
- Overall Pick: Poland to Win Tie at +165