Team Europe jumped out to a 3-1 lead on the first day of the Laver Friday in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dominic Thiem opened action scoring the first point beating Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 13-11 in a thriller. The Austrian saved three match points to deny Shapovalov.
Up next, in the surprise of the day Jack Sock stunned Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-6(3). Sock is ranked almost 200 spots behind the World No. 11 Fognini.
Roger Federer said coaching of Fognini was an issue.
“Bad coaching,” said Federer. “It’s that simple. Terrible coaching before, during, and after. Maybe we said the right things afterwards, you know, to cheer him up again. But everything that led to the performance didn’t work.
“No, I think Fabio struggled, you know, just to shake off the nerves. That was my opinion. He tried, we tried, and honestly Jack started to play very well.
“Got to give that to Jack in that second set. He was able to keep Fabio uncomfortable, and we tried to get Fabio comfortable. But Jack didn’t agree with our plan, so there you go.”
With the event level, Europe pulled out ahead in the evening.
Stefanos Tsitsipas edged Taylor Fritz 6-2, 1-6, 10-7 in a battle of debutantes. Then Federer teams with Alexander Zverev to close the day beating Shapovalov and Sock 6-3, 7-5.
Federer was playing his first match since a back injury hampered his play in a loss to Grigor Dimitrov a the US Open.
“It was a great atmosphere. There’s nothing like playing at home. Sascha carried me in the second set and it was great fun out there,” said Federer. “My back has recovered and I’m ready to go for more tomorrow.”
And the 3-1 lead is a big edge for Europe with the big guns set for Saturday.
“We are very happy with 3-1, I tell you that,” said Federer. “I’m not a negative or a pessimistic guy. I’m a super-positive guy. But I was looking at a 2-2 today before the day. Just the feelings I had.”
Tomorrow, Rafael Nadal, Federer and Zverev are all in action. Nadal takes on Milos Raonic, Federer faces Nick Kyrgios and Zverev collides with John Isner.
SATURDAY LAVER CUP SCHEDULE
Alexander Zverev vs John Isner
Roger Federer vs Nick Kyrgios
Rafael Nadal vs Milos Raonic
Rafael Nadal/Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Nick Kyrgios/Jack Sock
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