Ruud fends off valiant Sock to give Europe winning start in Laver Cup

The Norwegian came from 3-0 down in the deciding tiebreak to win the opening point for his team for the second year in a row

Casper Ruud Laver Cup 2023 AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Norway’s Casper Ruud gave Team Europe the perfect start to the sixth Laver Cup on Friday as he beat American Jack Sock 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 at London’s O2.

The world No 2, fresh from his run to the US Open final, withstood a strong fightback from Sock and came from 3-0 down in the deciding match tiebreak to clinch the opening point in the competition for the second successive year.

Sock, ranked No 128, has been working his way back up the rankings this year after a couple of years in the relative wilderness.

And he fought back well from the loss of the first set to force a deciding tiebreak, only for the Norwegian to win six straight points from 3-0 down as he went on to claim victory.

Casper Ruud (Nor) and Rafael Nadal – Antoine Couvercelle/Panoramic

Ruud raced to a 3-0 lead thanks to an early break and maintained his advantage to 5-2 before Sock, against the run of play, broke back. At 4-5, the American saved three set points from 0-40 but could not save the fourth, netting a forehand as he handed Ruud the opening set.

Sock upped the aggression in the second set and at 5-5, he forced three break points. He took the first of them and then served out to force a deciding first-to-10 tiebreak.

And when he led 3-0, it looked like team World might take an early lead in the event but Ruud won six straight points to take control and held on to win it 10-7 and earn the first point.

All results on day one earn the winning team one point. Stefanos Tsitsipas is due to take on Diego Schwartzman in the second match.

Roger Federer, making his final appearance before retiring from the sport at the age of 41, will partner Rafael Nadal in doubles on Friday evening, after the singles match between former world No 1 Andy Murray and Alex de Minaur.

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