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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday September 25, 2022

Team World 2022 Laver Cup

Frances Tiafoe saved four match points against Stefanos Tsitsipas to clinch the Laver Cup for Team World.

Photo Source: TC

On a day that seemed set to mark a fifth consecutive victory for Team Europe at Laver Cup, Team World flipped the script and scratched out a win for the ages.

Tennis Express

On Sunday in London’s O2 Arena, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime spearheaded the victory, and set the table for the finishing heroics of Frances Tiafoe, by defeating Novak Djokovic just hours after securing a doubles victory over Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini, alongside doubles specialist Jack Sock.

Auger-Aliassime’s 6-3, 7-6(3) triumph over the 21-time major champion marked a change in tone for the team that had been demolished in its four previous Laver Cup appearances.

Djokovic, hobbled by a wrist injury, could never get on track against the Canadian.

“I have been struggling with my right wrist for the last four, five days, to be honest. I have been keeping it under control,” Djokovic said. “The two matches yesterday probably had an effect. Today was not easy. I couldn't serve as fast or as accurately as I would like to. That has affected the whole game. He was serving extremely well.”

Djokovic did lead by a break in the first set, before losing six of seven games. In the second set he rallied from a break down, but lost the plot in the tiebreak.

“Of course I'm not taking anything away from his performance,” The Serb said. “It was outstanding, big serving, and very solid from back of the court. You know, he deserved to win, no doubt.”

Djokovic only won 66 of his first-serve points, and managed just 32 percent (6 of 19) of his second serve points, as he was broken three times.

“It felt great, for sure,” Auger-Aliassime said after his win. “You know, one of my best wins so far, for sure, in my career. You know, to back it up after the doubles, it was super important for the team.”

Up next was a game Tiafoe, riding high on confidence after reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open earlier this month.

Though the American was down early, and faced four match points in a thrilling second-set tiebreak, it was Tiafoe’s self-belief and swagger that guided him to a victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Laver Breaker, 1-6, 7-6(11), 10-8.

The American has now won 12 consecutive tiebreaks, including eight at the US Open and two in his doubles victory over Federer and Nadal alongside Jack Sock on Friday night in London.

“Unbelievable feeling,” Tiafoe said. “I kept saying all week, leading up, that this is our year. Guys showed up. Felix beat Novak today, Jack and Felix also played awesome doubles today and we all did it together.

“I showed a lot of heart to get this done, I was getting my ass kicked there for a while, and I just kept going – this is big and we’re going to celebrate big tonight.”


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