Staged at The O2 Arena in London, the fifth edition of the Laver Cup saw Team Europe taking the early lead, following Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas triumphs on the day session of their respective singles matches.
In the opening match of the day session, the Norwegian prevailed over the American player 6-4, 5-7 (10-7) after one hour and 47 minutes.
“This match was decided by a couple of points,” Ruud said in his on-court interview.
Adding: “I think we both made mistakes we wouldn’t normally make, and this time the margins were on my side.”
The 23-year-old dictated play with great intensity to earn the first set 6-4.
Ruud broke Sock to open a 2-0 advantage, showcasing consistency and balance on the hard court.
For his part, the four-time ATP titlist attempted a reaction at 2-5, narrowing the gap at 4-5 but the U.S. Open finalist recovered quickly to produce a double break over his adversary, following to seal the first set in his favor.
The second set was tight as the 29-year-old American raised his level, charging at the net with accuracy to come back from 0-3 down to 7-5, forcing a match tiebreak.
Ruud was erratic, and it nearly cost him the match. Under pressure, he soon found himself 0-3 in the tiebreak, but he held his nerve and regrouped, closing out 10-7 to give Team Europe the early lead and the first point in the team’s competition.
After their highly competitive encounter, the American commented: “I keep getting underestimated. Despite what my ranking says, I still feel I’m a pretty good tennis player. I lost to the world No. 2 on a 10-7 tiebreak.”
The much-anticipated match will see the Swiss, who has written a brilliant chapter in tennis history, playing his final match at tour level.
The 103-time ATP titlist and the 36-year-old Spaniard played doubles together in 2017 at the inaugural edition of the Laver Cup sited in Prague.
In their fourth meeting thus far this season, Tsitsipas ruled, showcasing a nearly flawless tennis performance to beat World No. 17 in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, after one hour and 16 minutes, extending Team Europe’s lead.
The Greek was the best player on court and seized the moment to win the second point for his team at the three-day event.
Overall, the two-time Monte Carlo Masters champion won 74 percent of his first-serve points while the Argentine player won 40 percent of his.
In addition, Tsitsipas fired 17 winners (1 ace), recording six unforced errors and converting five of seven breakpoint opportunities.
Team Europe has captured all fourth straight Laver Cup trophies since the competition’s inception.