Novak Djokovic beat Frances Tiafoe in singles and teamed up with Matteo Berrettini for a doubles victory on Saturday to help Team Europe take an 8-4 lead over Team World in the Laver Cup at London.
Berrettini also defeated Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (11), 4-6, 1-0 (10-7) as Team Europe won three of the four matches on the second day of the event.
Djokovic of Serbia rolled to a 6-1, 6-3 win over the American Tiafoe before later teaming with the Italian Berrettini for a 7-5, 6-2 win over Team World’s Alex de Minaur (Australia) and Jack Sock (United States).
It was the first time Djokovic and Berrettini have played doubles together.
“First time, but definitely not the last time, at least for me,” Djokovic said during an interview on-court. “I enjoyed it a lot. Perfect team, I guess. I don’t play doubles as much, so it’s a completely different game.”
Team World’s only victory came when American Taylor Fritz defeated Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8). Norrie was playing because Spain’s Rafael Nadal withdrew from the competition due to personal reasons.
Berrettini’s singles win included a marathon first-set tiebreaker against Auger-Aliassime.
“It’s always a great fight against Felix,” Berrettini said. “He’s a helluva player, I had to play my best tennis in the breaker to win.”
Play continues Sunday with three singles matches and one double match. Team World has to win three of the four matches to prevent Team Europe from winning its fifth straight Laver Cup.
Lorenzo Sonego won 84.4 percent of his first-serve points while posting a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over second-seeded Hubert Hurkacz to reach the final at Metz, France.
Hurkacz of Poland had a 5-2 edge in aces but Sonego outplayed him. The Italian will face Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the title match.
Bublik held a 2-1 lead in the opening set against Stan Wawrinka when the Swiss native retired due to a thigh injury. Bublik is 0-3 all-time against Sonego.
–Field Level Media
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