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De Minaur grinds down Murray as Team World open account at Laver Cup

The Australian’s win reduced Europe’s lead to 2-1 going into Roger Federer’s last ever professional match

AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Alex de Minaur put Team World’s first point on the board at this year’s Laver Cup as he ground down former world No 1 Andy Murray 5-7, 6-3 10-7 at London’s O2 on Friday.

The Australian let slip the first set after leading 3-0 but hit back well to level and then take the deciding match tiebreak 10-7 to win after almos two and a half hours and reduce Team Europe’s lead to 2-1.

Roger Federer is due to play his last ever professional match later on Friday, partnering Rafael Nadal in doubles.

World No 22 De Minaur made a fast start, breaking on his way to a 3-0 lead but Murray dug in and began to work his way into the match.

The slow court made hitting winners tough, particularly against someone of De Minaur’s speed but Murray played a brilliant game to break back for 3-2.

From then on, it was a dogfight as both men camped on the baseline, moving each other round looking for an opening.

Murray stayed ahead throughout and then at 5-6 on the De Minaur serve, the Scot snatched the set on his second set point when the Australian double-faulted.

Djokovic lends advice to Murray

At the sit-down between sets, Novak Djokovic was in Murray’s ear, telling him that De Minaur was largelly serving to his forehand.

Murray didn’t seem to respond, but he played another superb game to hold serve in the opening game of the second set, only to then double fault to hand De Minaur a 2-1 lead.

Drop shots begin to work for De Minaur

De Minaur maintained his advantage, using the drop shot well to keep Murray on his toes. A shocker of a volley into the net handed Murray a break point but he couldn’t take it and De Minaur then saved another to go up 5-3. Murray went down 0-40 on his own serve and though he saved two set points, he couldn’t save the third.

The deciding match tiebreak had plenty of mini breaks for both men but it was De Minaur who finally clinched victory when Murray netted a backhand.

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