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Tennis Update • Federer, Nadal Help Team Europe Maintain Lead At Laver Cup

By Ricky Dimon

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are shouldering the load for Team Europe at the Laver Cup.

What’s new?

Nothing is new, and neither is the Europeans finding themselves in control. Federer and Nadal won a singles matches for the home team’s only points on Saturday, leaving it with a two-point lead over Team World heading into Sunday’s finale.

The visitors started the day in victorious fashion when John Isner overcame Alexander Zverev 6-7(2), 6-4, 10-1.

“I wasn’t making any inroads on his serve and he was the better player for 85 percent of the match,” Isner admitted. “Once I got up 5-4, I had a lot of momentum and that showed in the match tiebreak. Maybe we’re turning the tables. Team World is in this and we’re here to win it.”

Isner’s squad will need a huge effort on Sunday in order to win it–at least three of the four matches to be exact. That’s because Federer and Nadal won the next two singles matches on Saturday.

Federer edged Nick Kyrgios 6-7(5), 7-5, 10-7 before Nadal took care of Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6(1).

“I was hoping it was going to be like this,” Federer said. “It was amazing. It was tough to lose that first set. I needed to get some energy, so I was just trying to stay with Nick because if you can turn it around, you can get the crowd behind you. I need some earplugs for the next match.”

The next match saw Nadal face break points in each of his first three service games. The second-ranked Spaniard saved all of them and eventually earned two breaks of his own to run away with the opening set. One break for each man led to a tiebreaker in the second, which Nadal won easily.

“Being here for me is a very positive energy,” Nadal noted. “I like being around such a great team and the crowd is amazing…. I feel very lucky [to have won] the first set. I started to play better later in the match and I think I played a very good tiebreak in the end.”

Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas lost the doubles nightcap to Kyrgios and Jack Sock 6-4, 3-6, 10-6. Thus the score is 7-5 Europe, meaning Team World must win three matches on Sunday to lift the cup for the first time in three tries. If Nadal and Tsitsipas had won the doubles, Team World would have to win three matches on Sunday just to tie.

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

Photo by Sven Groeneveld
Photo by Sven Groeneveld

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