Stan Wawrinka clinched Switzerland’s first United Cup tie Friday when he defeated Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-3, 7-6(3) in the No.1 men’s singles match. Jil Teichmann followed suit with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Zhibek Kulambayeva to give the Swiss a sweep of all four singles matches and a spot at the top of the table of Group B in Brisbane.
The Swiss came into Day 2 with a 2-0 lead after Belinda Bencic and Marc Andrea Huesler took care of business on opening day. Wawrinka kicked off the day looking to clinch the tie for Switzerland.
Entering the match, former World No.3 Wawrinka was 0-2 in his ATP Head2Head series with Bublik, one of the trickiest shot-makers on the ATP Tour. But the Swiss star was sharp in his first match of the season, trading his captain’s hat for his racquet in a 1-hour, 31-minute victory.
.@stanwawrinka is feeling it! He takes the 1st set 6-3 over Bublik, with 9 winners against just 2 unforced errors.— United Cup (@UnitedCupTennis) December 30, 2022
Team Switzerland 🇨🇭 is one set away from a 3-0 win over Team Kazakhstan 🇰🇿 pic.twitter.com/Q95indXXsJ
Wawrinka, who spent all of Thursday evening cheering for and providing guidance to his team, was locked in from the start against the big-serving Kazakhstani. The 37-year-old did not lose his serve in the match and did not allow Bublik to control the rhythm of their clash.
“I think it’s an amazing experience to play this United Cup, to put women’s and men’s tennis together with the same country,” Wawrinka said. “To have the chance to be the captain, to see tennis in a different way, in a different position, I’m really enjoying [it].”
Teichmann followed Wawrinka into the winner's circle, weaving her crafty web to hold off No.441 Kulambayeva. The 22-year-old from Kazakhstan was playing just her second tour-level match, having made her WTA main-draw debut in 2021 as a wild card in Nur-Sultan. Despite the chasm in ranking and experience, Kulambayeva impressed. She was the first to break in the opening set before Teichmann settled.
But the 25-year-old Swiss quickly showed her class, winning 10 of the next 11 games to build a 6-3, 5-0 lead. But Kulambayeva showed her spirit. To the crowd's delight, she reeled off back-to-back games before Teichmann served out the win.
Switzerland will have two days rest before facing No.2 seeds Poland on Monday.
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.