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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev push Team Europe to 7-1 lead at Laver Cup
The Greek beat Nick Kyrgios in two close sets, while the German edged American John Isner, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (6), 10-5.
Published Sep 25, 2021
World No. 3 and No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev fought off a pair of stern challenges from Team World during Saturday’s day session at the Laver Cup in Boston to extend Team Europe’s lead in the international competition to 7-1.
Tsitsipas was first up, taking on Nick Kyrgios—and having lost their only two previous meetings, at Washington D.C. in 2019 and the ATP Cup in 2020, this time it was third time lucky for Tsitsipas, who broke once per set to defeat the Australian, 6-3, 6-4.
Kyrgios had his chances to break back late in the second set—he had five break points in Tsitsipas’ 4-3 service game, and a sixth break point with the Greek serving at 5-4.
The 2021 Roland Garros finalist was asked afterwards about how he approached the match given his previous 0-2 record against the powerful Australian.
“I was really pumped, and I had a team behind me backing me up, and their energy is important,” Tsitsipas said. “Coming in with a negative record, of course you want to change that and get a win at least, which I’m very happy with today.
“It took a lot of hard work and dedication during that match, and it was quite nerve-wracking as well, but I found ways to close it out in the best possible way.”
Zverev had a winning head-to-head record of 6-2 against John Isner going into their match on Saturday, but it could easily have been 4-4, as Zverev had to fight off match points in two of his wins. And their ninth career meeting was a tight one, too, with Isner making a late surge—Zverev almost served for the match in the second set, getting to triple break point with Isner serving at 3-4, 0-40, but Isner dug out a hold and snuck out the second set in a tie-break to push it to a match tie-break.
From 2-all in the match tie-break it was all Zverev, though. The German won six of the next seven points to build an 8-3 lead, and after Isner held the next two points on his serve to make it 8-5, Zverev got to match point with a screaming backhand-down-the-line passing shot, then closed out a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (6), 10-5 victory with a forehand deep into the corner that the American couldn’t get back in the court.
“I think in this format, playing John is one of the toughest opponents there can be,” Zverev told Jim Courier in his on-court interview. “He’s the best server of all time, he’s hitting the ball extremely hard, extremely well today. To be honest I played a pretty good match, and even in the second set, which I lost, I don’t think I did many things wrong. So that just shows that the match was a really high level.”
Having come into Day 2 with a 3-1 lead, Tsitsipas and Zverev’s wins extended Team Europe’s lead to 7-1, as every match on Saturday counts for two points.
At night, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev will face Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, followed by Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev facing Isner and Kyrgios in the doubles match.