Hurkacz Upsets Thiem, Clinches Tie For Poland

Polish No. 1 eliminates Austria from Final Eight contention

Hubert Hurkacz upset World No. 4 Dominic Thiem 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) on Wednesday in Sydney to clinch Poland's first tie victory at the inaugural ATP Cup. 

Austria, which later won the doubles match, was clinging to its hopes of winning Group E and advancing to the Final Eight. But with Hurkacz's victory, Austria was eliminated from the competition, and the winner of tonight's clash in Sydney between Argentina and Croatia will top the group and reach the Final Eight.

"I think it was great for us. It was a whole great week, great week of preparation before that. We finished on a very high note beating a great Austrian team," said Polish captain Marcin Matkowski. "Obviously Hubert was playing great tennis throughout the three matches. He was holding us in every tie.

"Today his winning [against] Dominic is one of the best wins you can have. Dominic is one of the best tennis players in the world, and today Hubert came on top. "

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It has been a successful singles week for Hurkacz in Sydney, going 3-0 with all of his opponents ranked inside the Top 30 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 22-year-old also defeated Argentina's Diego Schwartzman and Croatia's Borna Coric. Hurkacz now leads Thiem 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the Austrian in Miami last year.

It seemed that Thiem would maintain the momentum from his Monday victory against Schwartzman when he jumped out to a quick lead against Hurkacz, breaking twice to win the opening set.

But the 6'5" Hurkacz slowly began to neutralise Thiem's aggression, working his way into rallies. Hurkacz saved eight of the 10 break points he faced and struck 10 aces to triumph after two hours and 35 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Kacper Zuk became the lowest-ranked singles player to win a match at the ATP Cup, as the World No. 448 rallied past Dennis Novak 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 to give Poland a 1-0 lead. 

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"it's a good experience because I had a chance to play for our country, first of all. I won. I helped my team to reach the win today against Austria. So I'm really glad that I won this match," Zuk said. "That's [my] first match against that high-ranked ATP player. So for me, it means a lot, and I hope I will have more chances to play against guys like that."

Zuk battled hard against former World No. 3 Marin Cilic on Monday, pushing the Croat to a tie-break in the first set. But while he did not get through that match, he wouldn’t be denied again.

The #NextGenATP player saved nine of the 13 break points he faced to triumph after two hours and 33 minutes. The Pole showed no nerves as he served out the match, attacking the Austrian relentlessly with his forehand on match point until Novak shoveled a backhand passing shot wide.

Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer got their country on the scoreboard with a 6-7(3), 6-3, 11-9 win against Hurkacz and former doubles World No. 1 Lukasz Kubot. Marach and Melzer triumphed in their final two doubles matches of the event.

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