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Federer, Zverev Win Final Two Matches To Give Europe Third Straight Laver Cup Tennis Victory

By Ricky Dimon

The third time was almost the charm for Team World.

Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev had other ideas.

Needing to win the final two singles matches on Sunday evening, Federer and Zverev delivered for Team Europe, giving that side its third Laver Cup title in as many installments of the annual team competition. Trailing on the scoreboard following losses in doubles and the opening singles rubber, Federer defeated John Isner 6-4, 7-6(3) before Zverev won the winner-take-all showdown against Milos Raonic 6-4, 3-6, 10-4.

”I’m very excited,” said Federer, who lost in doubles with Stefanos Tsitsipas 5-7, 6-4, 10-8 to Isner and Jack Sock prior to his singles bounce-back. “What an atmosphere and what a match. I’m thrilled that I was able to give something back to the team after a tough match tiebreak (in doubles) earlier today. Team Europe has been amazIng. They’ve fought so hard and played so well.”

But underdog Team World gave the Europeans everything they could handle. The doubles victory gave the visitors their first lead of the whole weekend before Taylor Fritz extended it to 11-7 by beating Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-7(3), 10-5.

That match was supposed to be Rafael Nadal vs. Nick Kyrgios, but Nadal ended up being sidelined by a wrist issue and Kyrgios’ withdrawal due to a shoulder problem followed shortly thereafter.

Fritz’s heroics gave Isner a chance to clinch the cup for Team World, but the 6’10” American got denied by Federer. And with that the stage was set for Zverev and Raonic, who were separated only by a decisive tiebreaker. It was Zverev who had control right from the start, befuddling his Canadian opponent with a smorgasbord of passing shots throughout the ‘breaker. It ended in appropriate fashion with a clean forehand pass at 9-4.

“It was an unbelievable weekend,” reflected Zverev, who has now given Team Europe the clinching points in two consecutive Laver Cups. “Those guys (Federer and Nadal) were screaming at me in the locker room before the match tiebreak, saying this is how I could turn my season around. Without all of these guys on the bench, I couldn’t have done it. This is very special, especially playing in front of those guys and having them trust me to play the last match.”

What will Laver Cup 2020 do for an encore? Well, we know one thing: it will be in Boston, Mass. Sept. 25-27. Get your popcorn ready!

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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