Djokovic dazzles on return at Laver Cup

Novak Djokovic defeated Frances Tiafoe in a stunning performance in his first match since winning Wimbledon in July to edge Team Europe in the Laver Cup.

While Roger Federer watched from the sidelines in a sold-out O2 Arena on Saturday, Djokovic made an intriguing return the day after his emotional farewell match with Rafa Nadal.

Tiafoe, a US Open semi-finalist, failed to stop Djokovic’s onslaught as the Serb won 6-1, 6-3 to put Bjorn Borg’s Team Europe 6-4 ahead on aggregate.

Former world no.

After Federer’s tearful final match the night before, day two could have been something of an anti-climax, but the quality of the tennis and the presence of the great Swiss Federer on the bench made for a convincing day of action.

Berrettini, who replaced 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer in singles, won a tough duel against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7: 6 (13:11), 4: 6, 10: 7.

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But American Taylor Fritz equalized in the second game of the day with a narrow win over Britain’s Cameron Norrie 4-4 against Team World – a replacement for Nadal, who left earlier in the day for personal reasons.

Fritz won 6-1, 4-6, 10-8 as John McEnroe’s Team World showed they are carved of sterner material this year after beating 14-1 in Boston last year.

Federer, watching every ball along with the rest of his Team Europe colleagues including Andy Murray, did his best to lift Norrie with some words of wisdom.

At one point, Federer suggested that world number eight serve and volley, which Norrie promptly did but lost the point when Fritz sent a lob over his head.

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“If Roger Federer tells you to do something, there’s no way I’m going to do it, especially out there playing for Team Europe,” Norrie later said.

Djokovic’s decision not to have a COVID-19 vaccine meant he wasn’t allowed to play in US swing and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz took full advantage to win the US Open and become the new world number one.

But Djokovic picked up where he left off as he beat Nick Kyrgios on Center Court at Wimbledon to win his 21st Grand Slam title.

Not even Federer could have improved on a first set in which Djokovic didn’t lose a point on serve, landing his precise groundstrokes near the lines with relentless regularity.

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Tiafoe collapsed early in set number two but gained some traction to push back hard and had a break point that Djokovic masterfully parried.

Djokovic then wrapped it up in just over an hour.

“I haven’t enjoyed playing that much in a couple of months to continue the run. It was a pretty decent game from my end I have to say,” said Djokovic on the pitch.

Djokovic then paid tribute to Federer’s emotional finale the night before. “That was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced in my life,” said Djokovic.

Individual games were worth one point on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday. Thirteen points are required to earn the trophy.

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