Novak Djokovic produced a surprising efficiency to thrash Frances Tiafoe in his first match since profitable Wimbledon in July then teamed up with Matteo Berrettini to place Crew Europe in command within the Laver Cup.
With Roger Federer watching on from courtside at a offered out O2 Enviornment, the day after his emotional farewell match alongside Rafa Nadal, Djokovic returned to motion in spellbinding trend.
US Open semi-finalist Tiafoe was helpless to cease the Djokovic onslaught because the Serb gained 6-1, 6-3 to place Bjorn Borg’s Crew Europe right into a 6-4 lead total. He then joined Berrettini, the person he beat within the 2021 Wimbledon ultimate, to beat Crew World duo Jack Sock and Alex De Minaur 7-5, 6-2 to offer Crew Europe an 8-4 lead heading into Sunday’s ultimate 4 matches. Particular person matches had been value one level on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday. 13 factors are required to win the trophy.
After Federer’s memorably tear-jerking ultimate match the earlier evening, day two might have been an anti-climax however the high quality of the tennis, and the presence of the Swiss nice on the bench, ensured an excellent spectacle.
Berrettini, who changed 20-time grand slam champion Federer for the singles, gained a hard-hitting duel in opposition to Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (11), 4-6, 10-7.
However American Taylor Fritz drew Crew World stage at 4-4 within the day’s second match with a decent win in opposition to Briton Cameron Norrie – a stand-in for Nadal who left earlier within the day for private causes. Fritz gained 6-1, 4-6, 10-8 as John McEnroe’s Crew World confirmed that they’re manufactured from sterner stuff this yr having been trounced 14-1 final yr in Boston.
Federer, watching each ball together with the remainder of his Crew Europe colleagues together with Andy Murray, did his finest to elevate Norrie with some phrases of knowledge.
At one level Federer urged the world No 8 ought to serve and volley, which Norrie promptly did however misplaced the purpose as Fritz despatched a lob over his head.
“If Roger Federer is telling you to do one thing, there isn’t a likelihood I’m not going to do it, particularly on the market enjoying for Crew Europe,” Norrie mentioned later. Djokovic’s resolution to not have a Covid-19 vaccine meant he was not allowed to play within the US swing and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz took full benefit to win the US Open and take over as the brand new world No 1.
However Djokovic issued an announcement of intent as he picked up the place he left off when beating Nick Kyrgios on Wimbledon’s Centre Courtroom to achieve 21 grand slam titles Not even Federer might have improved on a primary set through which Djokovic didn’t drop a degree on serve and landed his precision groundstrokes close to the strains with relentless regularity.
Tiafoe went a break down early within the second set however gained some traction to push again exhausting and had a break level that Djokovic repelled in masterful trend. Djokovic then wrapped it up in little greater than an hour.
“I haven’t performed for a couple of months so glad to proceed the run, it was a fairly first rate match from my facet, I’ve to say,” Djokovic mentioned on court docket. He then paid tribute to Federer’s emotional finale the earlier evening. “It was one of the vital stunning moments we’ve skilled stay or on the tennis courts. We had been all taken away by it.”