Alexander Zverev beat Taylor Fritz in straight sets Tuesday to clinch a victory over the United States team and get Germany’s ATP Cup campaign back on track.
Jan-Lennard Struff withstood 34 aces in a 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 win over John Isner to give Germany the lead and Zverev sealed it, on his fifth match point, with a 6-4, 6-4 win in the second of the singles matches.
Isner and Fritz combined for a 6-0, 6-3 win over Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz in the doubles. Both teams are now 1-1 in Group C. The US opened with a 3-0 win over Canada and Germany was coming off a 2-1 loss to Britain.
“Great effort by Jan to beat John in these conditions, we needed that win, we needed to get on the board,” No. 3-ranked Zverev said. “It’s the second match of the season. I’m still getting into it. I’m still trying to adjust, but I’m happy with how things are.”
Italy rebounded from their opening upset loss to Australia to beat France in Group B. Runners-up last year to Russia, Italy took the lead when Jannik Sinner beat Arthur Rinderknech 6-3, 7-6 (3) and secured its victory over France when Matteo Berrettini beat Ugo Humbert 6-4, 7-6 (6).
Sinner and Berrettini completed the sweep with a three-set win in the doubles.
For Berrettini, it was a confidence-boosting win following a loss to Alex de Minaur of Australia. Humbert was coming off an upset over US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.
Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka was rusty on her return to action for the first time in four months on Tuesday but still advanced to the second round of the Melbourne Summer Set tournament with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alize Cornet.
Osaka, who last played competitively when she lost to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open in September, displayed plenty of her trademark power but often lacked accuracy at the Australian Open warm-up event.
The Japanese player struggled with her first serve while committing 57 unforced errors, including eight double faults, as she eventually saw off the former world No. 11.
“I feel like I probably made a lot of unforced errors today but I kind of expected that because it is the first match,” said Osaka. “I was really nervous so I’m just glad that I was able to hold my serve on the last game.”
In the men’s ATP 250 event at the same venue, former world NO. 1 Andy Murray suffered a setback in his preparation for the Australian Open as Argentine Facundo Bagnis overcame the Briton 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the round of 32.
“To beat him is amazing, I’m really happy. I enjoyed every point in the match,” world No. 76 Bagnis said.
Five-time Australian Open finalist Murray, down at 134th in the world rankings after layoffs due to hip surgery, has accepted a wild card to the main draw of the year’s first major, which begins on January 17.