It took all of Roger Federer’s experience to pull Team Europe out of trouble and lead them to a win over the Rest of the World in the 2017 Laver Cup.
Federer registered a 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 win over Nick Kyrgios in the penultimate match of the encounter to give his side a title win in the inaugural edition of the Laver Cup.
Team Europe had begun the day with a 9-3 under their belt but that was shortened by three points when Americans Jack Sock and John Isner combined to overcome Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych in the first doubles match of the day.
Alexander Zverev then pushed the Europe’s lead back to six points with an easy victory over Sam Querrey. He won in straights, 6-4, 6-4 which meant world number one Rafael Nadal needed to just win his match against John Isner to bring home the title for Europe.
As it turned out, Isner overcame his poor record against the Spaniard – he was on a six-match losing streak against Nadal – to register a 7-5, 7-6 victory and reduce the Team Europe’s lead again. A 12-9 scoreline at that stage meant another win for the World side would take it to a Decider.
— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 25, 2017
Kyrgios needed to overcome Federer in order to do just that and when he won the first set of the match, it looked like a thrilling final doubles match could well be on its way to decide the title.
Federer retaliated with a break in the second set but was immediately broken back by the Aussie before the set went into a tie-breaker. Again, Federer raced off to a 6-3 lead before losing three successive points but later sealed it to force a deciding set.
In the final set, Kyrgios led 9-8 and had a match-point to push the encounter into the Decider but missed out on the chance. Federer then sealed the match and the title with a 11-9 win in the final set.
Federer said in an interview later:
“The boys played fantastic all weekend, but we knew it could change very quickly on Sunday. The Team World boys have been great, in the doubles especially, and we knew it was going to be tough. I was looking at getting ready for a doubles at the very end. I’m very pleased and relived that we did win the singles and got it done.”
A teared up Kyrgios was left to be consoled by his teammates but the tournament looks like it’s here to stay after the 2018 edition of the competition is being said to be hosted by Chicago.