Kyrgios & Sock keep Team World in Laver Cup contention

Published by Bastien Thorne

Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock kept Team World in contention with victory in the doubles. Photo: Getty Images
Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock hauled Team World back into contention in the Laver Cup, after Team Europe had raced away to a 3-0 lead on the opening day.

Team World kept themselves in contention for the inaugural Laver Cup as Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock won a knife edge doubles at the end of Day One. Alexander Zverev had backed up wins for Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem on the opening day of action to hand Team Europe a 3-0 lead, before Kyrgios and Sock downed the popular pairing of Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych.

In front of a packed O2 Arena crowd, Marin Cilic and Frances Tiafoe got the Laver Cup off to a flying start with a tough, tight match. Tiafoe had his chances against the big Croat, at one point leading 4-1 in the second set, but Cilic had the measure of his opponent and wrapped up a 7-6(3) 7-6(1) win to give Europe a flying start.

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“For me (it) was definitely great to start and to open with Frances this event, especially that we played very solid match, very good level,” Cilic said after the match. “I hope also that the crowd enjoyed, and definitely, for me, I’m very happy that I brought the first point for our team.”

Dominic Thiem and John Isner were next out, and the pair went toe-to-toe in a hard-fought match on the black court. The first set alone was enough to wow the fans, as Isner edged a 21-minute tiebreak 17-15, leading some commentators to reflect on the Borg-McEnroe Wimbledon final that saw an 18-16 fourth set breaker. Thiem rallied, and impressively downed the giant American in the second set breaker and the super tiebreak to claim a 6-7(15) 7-6(2) 10-7 win.

Next Gen stars Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov wowed fans in the first match of the evening session. Widely seen as the future of men’s tennis, the pair first met just six weeks ago in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup. Zverev won then, and he did so again as he handed Captain Bjorn Borg a 3-0 cushion with a 7-6(3) 7-6(5) win over the exciting Canadian.

Things were getting desperate for Team World captain John McEnroe. Fortunately, he had the experienced pairing of Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock on the bench for the final match of the day: a doubles.

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It’s not often that either Rafael Nadal or Tomas Berdych go onto a court as the underdogs, but they did in this one. Kyrgios and Sock are not only good friends, but they have played together on multiple occasions on the ATP.

It showed.

The crowd may have been firmly on the side of Team Europe but Kyrgios and Sock not only became the first to secure a set through a break, but they rallied to get Team World on the board with a crucial 6-3 6-7(7) 10-7 win.

With matches worth two points on Day Two, the inaugural Laver Cup is now perfectly poised.

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