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Tennis From Geneva • Team World Leads At Laver Cup, Federer Wins Doubles

By Ricky Dimon

Seeking its first-ever win in this third installment of the annual Laver Cup, Team World got a victory from perhaps its least likeliest source on Friday afternoon in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jack Sock was–and is–expected to anchor the underdogs’ doubles pairings, but he had not won a singles match all year. The American, who underwent finger surgery following the Australian Open and did not return until late July, was 0-5 in 2019 heading into a Laver Cup. But an inspired Sock raised his level in this team competition to defeat Fabio Fognini of Team Europe 6-1, 7-6(3).

It was a much-needed win for the World, as Denis Shapovalov lost the opening rubber against Dominic Thiem 6-4, 5-7, 13-11. Shapovalov held multiple match points in the super-tiebreaker but could not get across the finish line.

“I’m sure everyone here is surprised I won a singles match. It has been a while,” Sock told the crowd. “I had thumb surgery in February and I was out for six months with it. There have been few tournaments and few matches this year, but for some reason the Laver Cup seems to bring the best out of everyone here…. “I came out with a lot of energy, stuck to my game,” said Sock. “I’ve played great singles before, so I know it is in me. It is an amazing feeling to bring it out for these guys today, not just myself.”

The two teams may have figured to be tied 1-1 following the afternoon session–just in a different fashion. Despite being ranked much higher than Shapovalov, Thiem was arguably the underdog due to a virus that derailed his summer hard-court swing.

But the world No. 5 restored his confidence with a strong first set and in impressive bounce-back in the tiebreaker following the loss of set two.

“It’s a really special thing with the tiebreak in the third,” Thiem noted. “It creates lots of close moments and match points on either side. It’s also a little bit of luck at the end.”

By the end of Day 1, Team Europe had taken control. Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Taylor Fritz in a super-tiebreaker to begin the night session before Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev Best Sock and Shapovalov 6-3, 7-5.

Federer and Zverev gave back a break in the second set but quickly broke Shapovalov at 5-5 when the Canadian double-faulted down break point.

A hold at 6-5 for Zvederer ended the night with a 3-1 lead in Europe’s hands.

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

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