Scheduling ran amok at the United Cup early Sunday with Germany finally beating Australia 2-1 in a semi-final tie which ended after 2 a.m..

The winners will need to gather resources fast when they were set to return to the Sydney venue 15 hours later for the final with Poland, whose players were presumably tucked up in bed while the marathon dragged on after hammering France with wins in both of the singles. .

German Laura Siegemund finally put an end to the struggle with the Aussies on a fifth match point through a return winner to clinch the mixed rubber in the deciding third-set match tiebreak.

She and Alexander Zverev beat Aussies Storm Hunter – WTA doubles world No. 1 – and Matt Ebden 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2), 15-13 after two and a quarter hours.

It was left to fans in a half-empty stadium to try and get back into the city with public transport shut down for the night hours earlier.

In the first rubber, Angelique Kerber beat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-2, 70-6 (7). while Germany’s Zverev lost a tight encounter with Alex de Minaur 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Kerber celebrated a return to form 18 months after winning her last match in the summer of 2022 at Wimbledon and taking time away to have a daughter in 2023..

The 35-year-old’s win two match points saved brought a boost of confidence to the new mother playing her first event back on the Tour.

“This is my first win of the comeback, it’s a great feeling,” the German said. “I need to play as many matches as possible.

“I can learn from my last three United Cup matches (losses). Winning tough battles like this means a lot to me.

“I’ve got to have more matches like this before the Australian Open.

Zverev fell 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to a charged-up Alex de Minaur, who reached the ranking Top 10 for the first time in his career with the victory.

The Australian also accounted for his third Top 10 opponent of the tournament after Taylor Fritz and 10-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic.

“I got out of jail in the second set (break for 3-2) and then got a couple of cheap errors off of him,” de Minaur said..

“The momentum changed and the crowd really got behind me.

“I just rode the wave.”

De Minaur is the first Australian into the ATP ranking side since team captain Lleyton Hewitt in July, 2006.

“This is what I worked so hard for,” the winner said. “I just need to keep on improving.

“I’m really gonna enjoy this Aussie tennis summer, that’s for sure.”