Team Europe took a 3-1 lead over Team World on the first day of the Laver Cup after winning two of three singles matches and the doubles contest in front of a sellout crowd in Geneva.
Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas won their singles matches before Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev teamed up to save a whopping 15 of 16 break points to beat Jack Sock and Denis Shapovalov 6-3 7-5.
“All of us tennis players travel around the world for 10-11 months of the year,” Federer said. “There’s no place like playing at home so this is a very special night for me.”
World No.7 Tsitsipas kicked off the evening session with a 6-2 1-6 [10-7] win over American Taylor Fritz, claiming the opening set in 24 minutes.
Although Fritz battled back in the second, winning six of the next seven games to level, the Greek capitalised when Fritz double-faulted at 7-7 in the super tiebreak.
“I think the momentum changed in the third set tiebreak,” said Tsitsipas, playing in his first Laver Cup. “I found my rhythm, had a more clear mind on the court, didn’t rush so much. I think that played a crucial role in closing it at the end.”
Earlier, Europe struck first when Austrian Thiem beat Canada’s Shapovalov 6-4 5-7 [13-11], saving three match points in the super tiebreak.
Thiem, ranked fifth in the world, needed only one break to take the opening set but 20-year-old Shapovalov fought back to break twice in the second set to tie at one set apiece.
The young Canadian led 9-7 in the tiebreak before squandering his match points as Thiem clawed his way back to win the contest.
“It’s a really special thing with the tiebreak in the third,” Thiem said. “It creates lots of close moments and match points on either side. It’s also a little bit of luck at the end.”
American Sock earned Team World their only point of the day after securing a 6-1 7-6(3) win over Italian Fabio Fognini, who failed to convert any of his six break points in the match.
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