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Tennis • 10sBalls Shares • Ricky’s Preview & Picks For Day 1 Of The Laver Cup In Geneva

By Ricky Dimon

The third annual Laver Cup will begin on Friday in Geneva, Switzerland. Team World, a heavy underdog, is giving two of its players double duty, as Denis Shapovalov and Jack Sock will play two of the three singles matches and then team up for doubles. Roger Federer is taking the doubles court with Team Europe partner Alexander Zverev to go up against Shapovalov and Sock.

(Europe) Dominic Thiem vs. (World) Denis Shapovalov

Thiem was awesome on clay, as usual; he has mostly been a disaster, however, since. The fifth-ranked Austrian reached the Montreal quarterfinals but won only four games against Daniil Medvedev and has been plagued by a virus dating back to Cincinnati. There is no real reason to think is a truly ready to go for Laver Cup action, and this will likely be his only appearance (Day 1 matches are worth just one point, compared to two on Saturday and three on Sunday). Shapovalov went 7-4 on hard courts this summer. The Canadian has more fun than Thiem in this kind of setting and will thrive in the atmosphere.

Prediction: Shapovalov in 2

(Europe) Fabio Fognini vs. (World) Jack Sock

Sock has been worse than a disaster in singles ever since appearing in the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. The 210th-ranked American went 9-22 last year and has not yet won a match this season (0-4) due in part to finger surgery that sidelined him from late January until mid-July. For the most part Sock has at least been competitive in his five losses in 2019 (also one in qualifying). Fognini, who won their only previous indoor hard-court encounter at the 2017 Stockholm tournament, recently advanced to the quarterfinals in Montreal. The Italian should be way too good for a struggling opponent.

Prediction: Fognini in 2

(Europe) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (World) Taylor Fritz

This should be the most competitive and perhaps most entertaining singles contest of Day 1 between two players making their Laver Cup debuts. It remains to be seen how each one will perform on this kind of stage. It also may be exactly what Tsitsipas needs right now after seemingly being bogged down by the everyday grind of the main tour toward the end of a long season. The seventh-ranked Greek has slumped on the court and off the court he has temporarily done away with his once-active social media channels. Fritz is in fine form, making this a borderline toss-up even though the differences in ranking are vast.

Prediction : Tsitsipas in 3

(Europe) Roger Federer/Alexander Zverev vs. (World) Denis Shapovalov/Jack Sock

Say what you will about Sock’s singles game, he remains arguably the best doubles player in the world. His kick serve is effective, his hands at net are incredible, and opponents struggle to handle his heavy topspin forehand. Don’t forget that Sock won two slams and the ATP Final with Mike Bryan in 2018 while Bob Bryan was out. Federer is obviously great at doubles, as well, and has plenty of Laver Cup experience in this department. But Zverev cannot be trusted, as he is double-faulting left and right these days. If the German cannot hold serve, he and Federer are not going to beat any pairing that includes Sock.

Prediction: Shapovalov/Sock in 2

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Team Europe’s Roger Federer, returning the ball during training of the Laver Cup in Geneva, Switzerland, 19 September 2019. The competition will pit a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. The Laver Cup edition is scheduled for Sept. 20-22 at the Palexpo in Geneva. The Laver Cup is named after the Australian tennis legend Rod Laver. EPA-EFE/MARTIAL TREZZINI

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