Italy secured a 3-2 win over Brazil behind straight-set wins for Matteo Berrettini and Lucia Bronzetti on Day 2 of the United Cup in Brisbane. The No.5 seeds move to the top of Group E and will await their next tie against Norway.
World No.16 Berrettini powered past Brazilian No.1 Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 7-6(7) to give his country a 2-1 lead. Bronzetti picked up the baton and raced away, running off the first 10 games to defeat Laura Pigossi 6-0, 6-2 to clinch the tie for the Italians.
“Pretty happy I have to say," Berrettini said. "It’s been a long time since I’ve played my last singles match, so I didn’t know what to expect. I think the level was pretty high."
Berrettini needed two hours and 51 minutes to defeat Monteiro last year on the clay of Rio de Janeiro. Their clash Friday was also tough, but after saving two set points in the second set the favored Italian used his bigger game to hit his way to victory in Brisbane after one hour and 56 minutes.
“It’s all about the heart, especially when you’re playing for Italy," Berrettini said. "When you see your teammates in the box, you have to give a little bit more and that’s what I tried to do."
Playing at a career-high No.54, Bronzetti showed her class in a dominant win over No.118 Laura Pigossi. Despite the difference in their rankings, both women made their maiden WTA finals last year, with Bronzetti finishing as runner-up in Palermo and Pigossi doing the same in Bogota.
But Pigossi had no answers for Bronzetti's furious start. Despite serving at 82% first serves in, the Brazillian won just 33% of her first-serve points in the first set. But Pigossi showed her competitive spirit late in the second set, as she fought to get on the board and nearly put the set back on serve, but Pigossi repeatedly held her nerve in a series of key double-digit rallies.
Brazil closed out the tie with a mixed-doubles win. Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos teamed up to take down Camilla Rosatello and Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-7(4), 10-4 to capture Brazil's second point of the tie.
The United Cup is a new mixed-teams event featuring 18 countries across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. Played over two days, ties will be comprised of two ATP and two WTA singles matches and one mixed-doubles match.
The ATP Tour contributed to this report.