With Crew Europe staring down a 0-6 deficit on the Laver Cup, Casper Ruud delivered in what felt like a must-win match towards Tommy Paul on Saturday afternoon in Vancouver. Ruud’s 7-6(6), 6-2 end result put the Europeans on the board and kickstarted the group’s efforts to win again the Laver Cup, after they misplaced it for the primary time final season.
Ruud saved a set level within the first-set tie-break towards Paul, in the end successful the ultimate three factors of the set earlier than dominating the second.
“Recreation on child!” Ruud stated after clinching the win.
“It was a little bit of a steal possibly within the tie-break, from 5/6 down. [I hit] an enormous serve and a few large factors. That is Laver Cup. Despite the fact that World are up 6-2, there have been some shut calls. They received the primary two or three tie-breaks that we performed and fortuitously this one went Europe’s manner. Hopefully it may be considerably of a momentum shift for us now.”
The Norwegian was damaged simply as soon as within the match, when Paul acquired again on serve halfway via the opening set, however he powered via the second set with out going through a break level.
Talking on the conclusion of the day session, Crew Europe captain Bjorn Borg was hopeful that Ruud’s win may spark a methodical turnaround for the four-time champions: “Crew World is powerful, they have been enjoying nice tennis,” he stated. “I believe, hopefully, we’ll be slowly coming again.”
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 23, 2023
In a battle of aggressive baseliners, Fritz’s clear ball-striking helped him dictate extra of the motion on the indoor laborious courts. Rublev had his moments, together with a number of screaming return winners, however Fritz’s steadier tennis — and dogged defence at occasions — made the distinction.
Fritz instantly carried over the momentum from Friday by breaking within the opening recreation and easing to a one-set lead. Rublev, in search of to win Crew Europe’s first singles set at this yr’s occasion, began nicely in set two however noticed his 3-0 lead erased as Fritz got here on robust late.
Each gamers fought off a break level late in set two, with Rublev’s break probability doubling as a set level at 6-5. Within the decisive tie-break, Fritz hit two good half-volleys to assist seal the match.
“I used to be telling my group, I really feel like I’ve all the time been significantly better on the handsy half-volley pick-ups and stuff,” Fritz stated of these moments of magic. “I really feel like folks positively do not imagine that I’ve that. However I believe I am extra more likely to miss the better volleys than the half-volleys.”
Fritz was in fixed communication with captain John McEnroe and his group throughout changeovers, and the American stated he thrives within the group setting.
“Any sort of group surroundings, I really feel prefer it all the time elevates my recreation,” he defined. “I really feel like I all the time play higher truly, I really feel like my file in group occasions is absolutely robust and it is as a result of I’ve a group cheering for me. I can get pumped up for them, I am excited to play for them. It simply provides much more stress and fireplace to it and I believe I play higher in these conditions.”
Crew Europe has an opportunity to stage the rating at 6-6 with two extra wins in Saturday’s night slate. Europe’s Hubert Hurkacz will play Frances Tiafoe earlier than Hurkacz and Gael Monfils tackle Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton in doubles.
After one level was awarded for every win on Day 1 at Laver Cup, two factors are on supply for every win on Saturday. On Sunday, three factors will likely be awarded for every victory. With a 6-2 lead, Crew World is sort of midway to the 13 factors wanted to win the trophy.