American team drawn to start United Cup title defense in Perth


PERTH, Australia — Jessica Pegula and Taylor Fritz will start the U.S. team’s United Cup defense in late December at Perth, where Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek were drawn Monday to play in the group stage of the mixed team tournament.

The 18 teams have been divided into six groups, with three playing the preliminary stage in Perth on Australia’s West Coast from Dec. 29 and three playing in Sydney.

It is one of the main tune-up events for the Australian Open, which has been expanded to a 15-day tournament starting Sunday, Jan. 14.

Top-ranked Djokovic’s six-player Serbia squad was drawn into Group E with China and Czech Republic. The third-seeded U.S. team is in Group C with host Australia and Britain. Swiatek’s Poland team will take on Spain and a qualifier in Group A.

In Sydney, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari will line up for Greece in Group B against Canada and a qualifier.

France, Italy and Germany will meet in Group D, and Croatia, Netherlands and Norway will contest Group F.

Each of the group winners and the two top runners-up will qualify for the quarterfinals. Sydney will host the semifinals on Jan. 6 and the final on Jan. 7.


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