Sports, Tennis

Tiafoe seals first Laver Cup for Team World


By Reuters
Published : 26 Sep 2022 07:12 PM

Frances Tiafoe returned to haunt Team Europe with a dazzling win over Stefanos Tsitsipas to give Team World their first Laver Cup title on Sunday, ending Roger Federer's hopes of finishing his career by lifting another trophy.

Two days after he and Jack Sock beat Federer and Rafa Nadal in a tearful farewell for the Swiss great at the O2 Arena, American showman Tiafoe saved four match points against Tsitsipas before roaring to a 1-6 7-6(11) 10-8 victory.

Tiafoe's win, worth three points for his team, gave John McEnroe's Team World an unassailable 13-8 lead, having started the day trailing 8-4 and staring at a fifth straight defeat in the event co-founded by Federer.

Team World enjoyed a super Sunday as Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime stunned 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-6(3). Earlier, Auger-Aliassime had partnered American Sock to a 2-6 6-3 10-8 win against Briton Andy Murray and Italian Matteo Berrettini.

Tsitsipas had the chance to take the match to a deciding singles match, but Tiafoe showed tremendous guts to save four match points in a gripping second-set tiebreak. The American had the pro-Europe crowd in raptures, and his team mates off their feet, with some extraordinary shot-making in the so-called Laver Breaker.

And when Tsitsipas hit the net on match point, Tiafoe collapsed to the court and was immediately buried under a pile of his red-shirted team mates and captain McEnroe.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Tiafoe, who reached the U.S. Open semi-final said on court. "Jonny Mac was dropping F bombs all week saying we need to get it down this year.

"It wasn't just me but I showed a lot of heart to get this done. I was getting my ass kicked for a while but I kept going. This is big, we're going to celebrate big tonight."