SYDNEY, Australia -- Marie Bouzkova earned her first win of the season to give the Czech Republic a 2-0 lead over No.10 seed Germany on Day 3 of the United Cup. The World No.24 defeated No.65 Jule Niemeier 6-2, 7-5 to close out a successful day for the Czech squad.
Earlier in the day, Jiri Lehecka equaled the biggest win of his career by Pepperstone ATP Ranking Saturday when he upset World No.12 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2 in No.1 men's duel.
The result gives the Czech's women's No.1, Petra Kvitova, the opportunity to clinch the tie on Sunday when she faces Laura Siegemund.
The duel between Bouzkova and Niemeier featured two of last year's surprise Wimbledon quarterfinalists. It was a contrast of styles, pitting Niemeier's big groundstrokes against Bouzkova's crafty athleticism. The German had the power edge, but Bouzkova showed why she excels on fast surfaces, as she unwound Niemeier with her mix of spins and angle, drawing 34 unforced errors.
"Tried to run a lot of balls down," Bouzkova said. "Obviously she plays so fast and it wasn't easy at all. I just tried to stay solid and also go for my shots and serve well."
Niemeier struggled to get into Bouzkova's service games but converted her only break point late in the match as the Czech served for the win at 6-2, 5-4, saving two match points along the way. But Bouzkova was unnerved, breaking back immediately and serving out the win after 1 hour and 49 minutes.
The 2022 Next Gen ATP runner-up Lehecka, who also defeated then-World No.12 Denis Shapovalov en route to the semi-finals in Rotterdam last season, lost against Taylor Fritz in his opening match of the season earlier this week. However, he has given his nation the perfect start to its tie against Germany as it looks to bounce back from its Group C tie defeat against Team United States.
"Jiri did a great job in the first match and I think we have a really good team," Bouzkova said. "We get along so well and it's really fun. I just wanted to get a point for our team and that makes me even more happy. We just have to keep it going tomorrow."
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.