In the course of 11 drama-filled days at the United Cup, across three Australian cities, 18 teams have been reduced to just two: the third-seeded United States and fifth seeds Italy.
Sunday’s final takes place at 1 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) in Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.
The U.S. clinched its spot in the title round first, uncertain if it would be facing Italy or Greece.
“I don’t really think it matters,” captain David Witt said. “I think our players are pretty confident and excited to be in the final. We will just have to wait to see who we play, and then go out there and do it up.”
Both squads have been “doing it up” with remarkable consistency.
The United States — leading 2-0 after the first day of semi-final play — swept its three Saturday matches to defeat Poland 5-0. Taylor Fritz and Madison Keys won their singles matches over Hubert Hurkacz and Magda Linette, respectively, before Fritz and Jessica Pegula won their mixed doubles match.
Later, Lucia Bronzetti clinched a 4-1 victory for Italy over Greece with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Valentini Grammatikopoulou. While Italy opened play Saturday with a Matteo Berrettini loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Italians finished strong, first with Bronzetti and then a mixed doubles win by Camilla Rosatello and Andrea Vavassori.
There is little history between these players on the U.S. and Italy. The two women’s matches are both first-time affairs. Meanwhile, Fritz holds a 2-0 advantage over Berrettini, at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals and 2021 Indian Wells. Lorenzo Musetti defeated Frances Tiafoe in their only ATP Head2Head meeting, two years ago in Acapulco, but it was decided by a third-set tiebreak.
Both teams have benefitted from elite singles play at the United Cup. The United States is 14-2, while Italy is 12-4.
Breaking it down individually, the Americans all have winning records: Tiafoe 4-0, Keys 4-0, Pegula 3-1 and Fritz 3-1.
The Italians are not far behind: Musetti 4-0, Berrettini 3-1, Bronzetti 3-1 and Martina Trevisan 2-2.
If it comes down to the final match, mixed doubles, the United States has a clear advantage, as Pegula and Fritz are a tidy 3-0. Italian Captain Vincenzo Santopadre has scheduled Berrettini and Trevisan. Berretini lost his only mixed doubles match and Trevisan has yet to play.
According to Berrettini, Team Italy is feeling the spirit of those vintage championship Billie Jean King Cup teams that featured Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani. From 2006-13, they won four titles.
“They were great inspirations for all of us,” Berrettini said. “I believe they were great. I think when you play team competitions, it’s important to create a group off court and then you can perform better on court. That’s what we did from the very first moment.
“We immediately created this group chat and started talking about when we will get here and we kind of celebrated Christmas on the flights together. We started to hang out together and create this bond that is really important.”
The Americans, too, have bonded.
“I didn’t know how locked everybody was,” Tiafoe said. “It’s just crazy.”
Sunday, Jan. 8
Ken Rosewall Arena, 1 p.m.
Jessica Pegula (USA) vs. Martina Trevisan (ITA) / Head-to-head: 0-0
Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs. Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) / Head-to-head: Musetti, 1-0
Taylor Fritz (USA) vs. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) / Head-to-head: Fritz, 2-0
Madison Keys (USA) vs. Lucia Bronzetti (ITA) / Head-to-head: 0-0
Jessica Pegula and Taylor Fritz (USA) vs. Martina Trevisan (ITA) and Matteo Berrettini (ITA)