Behind his signature style of play, though—the topspin forehand, the heavy serve and the underrated touch—the American escaped that deficit and put on a vintage performance to take the match 6-1, 7-6(3) to level the day session singles matches at 1-1.
For Sock, much of the past two seasons has been forgettable on the singles court: He started last year ranked in the top eight, but finished 2018 in the triple digits. This year, a thumb injury and subsequent surgery kept him off the court for an extended period of time. Returning to action this summer, he failed to win a match before today and his ranking currently sits outside of the Top 200.
Meanwhile, his opponent had been in the midst of a career-best campaign: Fognini won in Monte Carlo for his first Masters 1000 title and also cracked the Top 10 of the rankings.
Laver Cup, though, always brings out the best in Sock. Despite getting in trouble early and often in his service games in the first set, he still managed to hold each time, while also breaking Fognini’s serve on multiple occasions as the Italian seemed to struggle with his game in all facets.
In the second set, though, Fognini steadied himself and his own penchant for flair enabled him to keep pace with Sock. As the two battled through, Sock didn’t earn a break point until 5-5, 30-40. However, a poorly executed drop shot from the American brought it back to deuce and Fognini eventually held by the slimmest of margins: A running crosscourt forehand initially called out was shown to have creased the line, giving the world No. 11 a 6-5 lead.
Sock held easily to force the tiebreak and won the first point against Fognini’s serve. Exchanging mini-breaks early, the American quickly grabbed a lead in the second-set decider. Fognini double-faulted down 5-3 to give Sock multiple match points, and one more kick serve from the American drew another missed return from the Italian.
For Sock, it’s his first singles win since last November in Paris as he was trying to defend his own lone Masters title. The victory also put an end to a dubious streak for Team World as the squad claimed its first singles point on day one of the competition.