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Laver Cup Chicago Recap: Team Europe Takes the Title

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor

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Team World nearly claimed its first victory last weekend at the 2018 Laver Cup in Chicago despite a sizable initial lead by Team Europe. The second staging of the tennis exhibition tournament featured seven players on each side from the Association of Tennis Professional (ATP) World Tour. The first team to 13 points would win.

Day one on Friday had seen the Europeans win three out of four matches. Their only loss came in doubles as Team World’s Kevin Anderson and Jack Sock edged the all-star pairing of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in a tight 10 point final set.

As I took my seat at the United Center on Saturday night, I knew the first match of the second session promised to be an enthralling battle. It was a rematch of the 2018 Wimbledon final. Team World and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign alumni Kevin Anderson looked to exact his revenge on Team Europe’s Novak Djokovic, who was fresh off winning his 14th grand slam at the recent U.S Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The match lived up to the hype. The players split the first two sets and the match had to be decided in another competitive 10 point final set. Anderson eventually pulled off the upset much to the crowd’s liking, putting Team World back in the tournament.

It’s not easy playing one of the best players of all time, but what an amazing atmosphere.” Anderson said in an on-court interview after the match. “I felt I played a great match, beating Novak on any stage is great and here in Chicago makes it extra special.”

The following doubles match was crucial for Team World and everyone in the crowd knew it. Jack Sock and Nick Kyrgios faced off against Team Europe’s Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin in what turned out to be a convincing 6-3 6-4 victory for Team World.

This put them in the lead for the first time in the history of the tournament. The crowd was energized by the win as Team World boasted three American players in Sock, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe. After the match, Kyrgios shared his delight in helping to put Team World in front.

“It’s my favorite event. I knew it was going to be awesome playing in front of you and Team World is going to come out tomorrow and take the Cup, for sure.”

Kyrgios’ prediction was not to be.

The first match on day three saw all-American Team World pairing Jack Sock and John Isner win a hard-fought doubles match between Team Europe’s Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev. It now seemed to all that Team World was really going to take the tournament by storm.

But Team Europe parted the clouds of impending defeat, putting a stop to Team World’s dream run and clinching the trophy for the second year in a row. In the second match of day three, Roger Federer came back from a set down to beat John Isner in a 10 point final set decider and Alexander Zverev followed suit against Kevin Anderson to give Team Europe the ‘W’ in emphatic style.

With two of the best players in the world in Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, Team Europe was always going to be tough to beat. But Team World captain John McEnroe expressed pride in his charges’ efforts all the same, confidently proclaiming “we’re going to win this one next year!”

 

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Laver Cup Chicago Recap: Team Europe Takes the Title