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Ruthless Djokovic, displaying mid-season form, puts Team Europe in command after day two of Laver Cup
In his first outing since winning Wimbledon, the Serb won back to back singles and doubles matches to put Europe 8-4 up going into the final day of the Laver Cup
Novak Djokovic had to wait a day before getting onto the court at Laver Cup but on Saturday he made up for lost time as he won back to back singles and doubles matches to leave Europe with a commanding 8-4 lead over Team World at the end of day two.
The Serb, back on court for the first time since winning Wimbledon, blitzed Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 and then, after the briefest of breaks, joined forces with Matteo Berrettini to beat Jack Sock and Alex de Minaur 7-5, 6-2.
Djokovic, a man on a mission
After playing a full part on the sidelines while Roger Federer completed his last ever professional match alongside Rafael Nadal on Friday night, Djokovic looked desperate to play his part, having not been allowed to play the US Open due to his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
It was Tiafoe’s misfortune that he should be the one in the firing line.
The first set lasted just 23 minutes as Djokovic proved far too consistent for the American, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open but who perhaps was still feeling the after-effects of an emotional evening when he and Sock took on and beat Federer and Nadal.
Federer, watching from the sidelines, was impressed. “From the baseline, it’s amazing. Such control, it’s great to see after so many months.”
Djokovic snuffs out Tiafoe’s only chance
The Serb broke in the opening game of the second set and saved a break back point in the next game, snuffing out any hopes Tiafoe may have had of staging a comeback.
Djokovic almost went up a second break soon after but eventually he broke again in the eighth game to finish off the match and put Europe ahead once more.
Djokovic and Berrettini make a good team
After a few minutes to catch his breath – including a lovely speech about Roger Federer’s retirement – Djokovic was back on court taking on Sock and De Minaur, with Berrettini on his side.
The Italian had won the first match of the day, coming through a tough battle against Felix Auger-Aliassime, and together, the pair won a tight first set and pulled away in the second to put Europe firmly in command as they head into day three, looking to win the competition for the fifth time out of five.
EUROPE 8 -4 TEAM WORLD (AFTER 8 MATCHES)
Djokovic & Berrettini (E) – Sock and De Minaur (W) 7-5, 6-2
Djokovic (E) – Tiafoe (W) 6-1, 6-3
Tiafoe (W) – Norrie (E) 6-1, 4-6, 10-8
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]