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Berrettini downs Auger-Aliassime to restore Team Europe lead on day two of Laver Cup

The Italian won a final-set match tiebreak 10-7 to give Europe a 4-2 advantage early on day two

Matteo Berrettini Laver Cup 2022 AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Matteo Berrettini edged out Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (11), 4-6, [10-7] on Saturday to restore Europe’s lead over Team World in the Laver Cup at London’s 02.

With two points for each win on day two, the Italian withstood a strong fightback from Auger-Aliassime to win the deciding tiebreak and move Europe into a 4-2 lead. The two teams had been tied at 2-2 after day one.

Berrettini said it had been hard to recover from the emotions of the previous night, when he and the rest of the teams had been present for Roger Federer’s last ever professional match late on Friday night.

“It meant that I couldn’t sleep. I was really emotional. I told him while I was crying – we were all crying – that the reason I chose to be a tennis player was because of him.

“He probably doesn’t know but when I was a kid and he was playing in Rome I was trying to sneak in, I didn’t have a ticket. He inspired me so much. I’m so happy to be here.

“One of the reasons I couldn’t sleep was because he was crying on my shoulder. I was like, is this real? Roger Federer….today he gave me a couple of tips. It worked out pretty well. Thanks Roger.”

Berrettini needed six set points in first set

Federer was on hand to help with coaching advice and Berrettini and Auger-Aliassime played out a bruising battle, serving brilliantly and never giving an inch as they looked to put their side in front, with two points for the winner of each match on day two.

Neither had much of a look-in on serve in the opening set, though Berrettini had to save one break point, and it inevitably went to a tiebreak, which was something of a mini-classic in itself.

The Italian led 5-2 but was pegged back to 5-5. Though he saved one set point, he needed six set points to get the job done as he took the opening set after 76 minutes.

Norrie – Fritz next

Auger-Aliassime hit back immediately at the start of the second set, breaking for a 2-1 lead and holding the advantage all the way through the set to force a deciding tiebreak, first to 10 points.

But the Italian recovered his poise, grabbed the early lead and finished it off 10-7 to open up a two-point lead for Team Europe, who have won all four previous Laver Cups.

Cameron Norrie, a replacement for Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the rest of the event due to personal reasons on Saturday, faces Taylor Fritz in the second singles of the day. Novak Djokovic will play Frances Tiafoe in the first night match, before teaming up with Berrettini in doubles against Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock.

Europe 4 -2 Team World (after 5 matches)

Berrettini (E) – Auger-Aliassime (W) 7-6 (11), 4-6, 10-7
Ruud (E) – Sock (W) : 6-4, 5-7, [10-7]
Tsitsipas (E) – Schwartzman (W) : 6-2, 6-1
De Minaur (W) – Murray (E) : 5-7, 6-3, [10-7]
Tiafoe/Sock (W) – Nadal/Federer (E) : 4-6, 7-5, [11-9]

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