Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev walked through the catacombs with their heads bowed. Despite a good performance, the German tennis duo had to leave the celebration of their victory to their opponents this time.
In an exciting mixed doubles match in Sydney, Kerber and Zverev lost against Caroline Garcia and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6:7 (4:7), 6:2 and 10:12 and thus suffered the decisive defeat of 1:2 against France. This means that the mixed German tennis team has to worry about reaching the quarter-finals at United in Australia.
If Kerber and Zverev had converted their own match point in the match tiebreak, reaching the knockout round would have already been certain. Now the Germans no longer have it in their own hands. France will face Italy on Wednesday and can secure group victory. Even as one of the best runners-up in the group, the German team can still progress.
Kerber loses in the individual
After spending New Year's Eve with the team, Kerber and Zverev faced a much more difficult test in the mixed doubles than in the first round game against Italy. After narrowly losing the first set, Zverev and Kerber secured the first breaks of the game to make it 1-0 and 4-1 and confidently equalized the set.
Kerber impressively withstood the pressure on her serve games. In the match tiebreak, the German pairing, which is also thinking about a joint mixed start at the Olympic Games in Paris in the summer, was no longer able to fend off the French team's third match point. The duo clearly held their own against Italy and thus celebrated the decisive 2-1 win and Kerber's first sense of success after the birth of Liana at the end of February 2023.
Against France, Kerber also missed the possible decision in favor of the German team in the singles with the 6:1, 2:6, 2:6 against Garcia. In the second singles after her 18-month maternity break, Kerber (35) got off to an impressive start. But that wasn't enough because the match then took an unexpected turn: Garcia improved considerably and was then too strong.
United Cup as preparation for Australian Open
At the start of the encounter, Zverev also won his second singles of the new season in three sets and put the German team in the lead. The Hamburg native (26) beat French veteran Adrian Mannarino 4:6, 6:4, 6:3. In the middle of the second set he threw his racket on the ground in dissatisfaction, but then steered the match in the right direction for him. In the decisive set he was the better player and served strongly. “An incredible match from Adrian,” praised Zverev: “I kept fighting, fended off a few break points in the second set and that helped me.”
Kerber also lost her singles game against Italy despite a decent performance, and Zverev equalized. The United Cup also serves as preparation for the Australian Open in Melbourne. The first Grand Slam tournament of the year begins in mid-January.