More than 20,000 fans gathered at the O2 Arena in London and millions were waiting in front of the screens for this match. When Federer announced the news last week that tennis fans had long expected but never wanted to hear, it became clear that this meeting would be the highlight of the fifth Laver Cup.
The stake in the match was not just a point in the duel between Europe and the world, but above all farewell to one of the best tennis players of all time. Farewell in unusual company, because on the court, 41-year-old Federer was accompanied by one of his greatest rivals and friends at the same time, Rafael Nadal. Grand Slam winners: Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Europe has put a team against the world team that has boasted 66 Grand Slam titles and a total of over a decade of reign at the top of the ATP rankings.
USA vs Celebrities
On the other side of the net, the acting was rather mediocre. The honor of farewell on the Swiss court was given to 29-year-old Jack Sock, who was once a top ten tennis player on the world list and often plays successfully in doubles today. His partner was five years younger than Francis Tiafoe, and the reveal ended the US Open two weeks earlier, reaching the semi-finals.
The fame of the two opponents did not restrain the feet of the Americans. They set the bar high from the start, forcing Federer and Nadal to work hard.
The fans waited for the breakout start until the 10th game, but with him it was decided in the first set. Prior to this, Sock and Tiafoe were close to success, but the European team defended their first break point in the match. Confidence in their service turned out to be disastrous for Americans a moment later. They were leading 40:15, but they seemed to have forgotten what competitors they were dealing with. A few consecutive mistakes cost them collapse and the loss of the group.
Video: Eurosport Laver cup. Nadal and Federer won the first set against Tiafoe/Soc
compensation for losses
Angry Americans set out to make up for the losses. This time they tried to take advantage of their chance much earlier, and broke the Swiss-Spanish duo in the third game of the second game. They were able to defend themselves from the resurgence of the hack, in large part due to the lack of understanding of the Europeans.
Video: Eurosport Laver cup. Nadal and Federer were broken in the third match of the second set against Tiafoe/Soc
But what was in the air for a few moments was achieved in the sixth inning. After the bizarre mistake of Tiafoe hitting the ball twice, the referee interrupted the match, awarding Federer and Nadal a point. And since they were driving the Americans at 40:15 at the time, the comeback outbreak was a reality.
In the next match, experienced tennis players came close to winning the match and scoring the third point for Europe, but they still needed another break. However, Tiafu and Sock played with more caution and tried to avoid the minor mistakes that had happened to them before.
Video: Eurosport Unusual play by Nadal: he missed it, but he still deserves applause
And in the eleventh match, the Americans had the opportunity to make a second breakthrough. However, the European pair defended six break points and saved the match with his management.
Then Federer scored twice “goal” Tiafoe in the net to put the Americans in a state of balance and close to winning the match. Tiafu and Sock fought again.
The tiebreak was to decide the fate of the second set. Representatives of the world started it better. Federer and Nadal, 36, were forced to chase the score. without success. After a long battle, the second leg of the match was recorded for Tiafoe and Sock’s account.
The tiebreaker is great at the end
The third super-half of the day was crucial to winning the match. This time, tennis players from Europe started with a small break, and after a moment they followed the blow and raised the lead. However, the American manhunt had an effect and the outcome in the ruling party was equal. A moment later, after hitting the ball mercilessly, Sock scored a point that gave the world the lead.
Video: Eurosport Laver cup. Playing the unimaginable Sock against Nadal and Federer
Blows have been exchanged and there is still a long way to go before they are resolved. Neither team was able to get a clear lead.
At one point, Tiafoe hit Federer in the forearm, which gave the Americans a small break advantage. After a moment they lost, and after the next serve, Federer and Nadal grabbed the match ball. But it was also not decisive. This time the Swiss did not have the last word.
Luck smiled for Tiafoe, who hit the court while rubbing the ball against Nadal, and a moment later the American doubles took their first chance, and in the presence of a silent audience, won the match.
Roger Federer / Rafael Nadal – Francis Tiafoe / Jack Sock 6:4, 6:7 (2-7), [8-10]
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