Laver CupRoger Federer

Laver Cup 2019 Day 1 Recap

Team Europe Take a 3-1 Lead into Day 2 at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva

Day one at the 2019 Laver Cup is complete, and it was Team Europe who took the spoils, winning three of the four matches played to take a 3-1 lead heading into day two.

While it's too early to call the lead commanding given the cumulative scoring system it certainly puts pressure on the likes of Raonic, Kyrgios and Isner who will need to pick up some points on day two to avoid the gap widening even further. Let's take a look at how the opening day of the third edition of the Laver Cup panned out.

Match 1: Thiem def. Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (13-11)

Thiem Laver Cup

The first set was typical Shapovalov with lots of errors and not being able to defend his second serve. The Canadian went on a mini-run in the second set with some flashy points to go up a break for 3-1but Thiem broke straight back and levelled for 3-3. The pair were on a similar level until 5-5, and despite Thiem looking like the better player, he dropped serve to love at 5-6 which forced a ten-point tie break. 

Shapovalov took a toilet break before the breaker, but that didn't disrupt his rhythm, and he'd won 9 points in a row when he won the opening point. Thiem levelled at 1-1 but then dropped serve and found himself 1-3 down.

Shapo's forehand then went completely off the boil, and Dominic won four points in a row to lead 5-3, that was quickly 7-5, but Shapovalov turned it around to lead 9-7. 

Thiem saved the first match point, but the Canadian had a match point on his serve at 9-8. Thiem again saved it with a backhand return that crept over the net. Shapo then had to save his own match point, and the Austrian was soon staring defeat in the face yet again at 10-11, but he reeled off the next three points to take it 13-11. Very cagey and nervy from both but Thiem that bit more reliable.

Match Stats

  Dominic Thiem Denis Shapovalov
Aces 4 10
Double Faults 1 3
1st Serve 57% (39/68) 63% (49/78)
1st Serve Points Won 74% (29/39) 73% (36/49)
2nd Serve Points Won 59% (17/29) 48% (14/29)
Break Points Saved 0% (0/2) 67% (4/6)
Service Games Played 11 11
1st Serve Return Points Won 27% (13/49) 26% (10/39)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 52% (15/29) 41% (12/29)
Break Points Converted 33% (2/6) 100% (2/2)
Return Games Played 11 11
Service Points Won 68% (46/68) 64% (50/78)
Return Points Won 36% (28/78) 32% (22/68)
Total Points Won 51% (74/146) 49% (72/146)

Highlights

Score: Team Europe 1 – 0 Team World

Match 2: Sock def. Fognini 6-1, 7-6(3)

Jack Sock Laver Cup

Sock hadn't won a singles match this year, and he wasn't exactly looking lean when he stepped on the court, but Fabio didn't turn up. He looked down on himself, didn't move well (persistent ankle problem?) and didn't put enough returns in play, so Sock ran away a worthy winner.

Match Stats

  Fabio Fognini Jack Sock
Aces 6 5
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve 54% (31/57) 60% (43/72)
1st Serve Points Won 74% (23/31) 77% (33/43)
2nd Serve Points Won 46% (12/26) 59% (17/29)
Break Points Saved 50% (2/4) 100% (6/6)
Service Games Played 9 10
1st Serve Return Points Won 23% (10/43) 26% (8/31)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 41% (12/29) 54% (14/26)
Break Points Converted 0% (0/6) 50% (2/4)
Return Games Played 10 9
Service Points Won 61% (35/57) 69% (50/72)
Return Points Won 31% (22/72) 39% (22/57)
Total Points Won 44% (57/129) 56% (72/129)

Highlights

Score: Team Europe 1 – 1 Team World

Match 3: Tsitsipas def. Fritz 6-2, 1-6, 1-0 (10-7)

Tsitsipas Laver Cup

Tsitsipas looked explosive from the word go, high energy, good intensity, and he dominated the first set to take it 6-2.

However, that changed quickly with the Greek finding himself in trouble at the start of set two at 15-40. Despite saving four break points in total, he couldn't close out the game as Fritz connected with some crisp groundstrokes to break.  

That gave the American a big dose of adrenalin, and suddenly he was the explosive one, finding a ton of pace on his forehand and he ran away with the second set 6-1 to force a 10 point tiebreaker.

The breaker was a topsy turvy affair with both guys struggling to win points on serve but the critical moment was a Fritz double fault at 7-7, and from there Tsitsipas was braver on his shots, going for his groundstrokes whereas Fritz got tentative on his backhand allowing the Greek to take it 10-7.

Match Stats

  Stefanos Tsitsipas Taylor Fritz
Aces 6 4
Double Faults 0 1
1st Serve 67% (36/54) 61% (28/46)
1st Serve Points Won 78% (28/36) 79% (22/28)
2nd Serve Points Won 33% (6/18) 50% (9/18)
Break Points Saved 67% (4/6) 60% (3/5)
Service Games Played 7 8
1st Serve Return Points Won 21% (6/28) 22% (8/36)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 50% (9/18) 67% (12/18)
Break Points Converted 40% (2/5) 33% (2/6)
Return Games Played 8 7
Service Points Won 63% (34/54) 67% (31/46)
Return Points Won 33% (15/46) 37% (20/54)
Total Points Won 49% (49/100) 51% (51/100)

Highlights

Score: Team Europe 2 – 1 Team World

Match 4: Federer / Zverev def. Shapovalov / Sock 6-3, 7-5

Fed Zverev Laver Cup

A shaky start from Zverev early on with some botched volleys forced the pair to save two break points to hold for 2-1. In game four, Shapovalov stayed back on serve which allowed Team Europe to get the break for 3-1.

Team World had more break points in game five but couldn't convert as Federev held for 4-1. That one break proving decisive as Team Europe took the first set 6-3.

Into the second set and Team Europe got up another early break before coming through a long service game to take a 2-0 lead. Another lengthy game from Team Europe saw them save four break points to take a 3-1 lead.

In game eight with Federer serving, he wasn't able to land enough first serves caused by what looked like a low ball toss and on the breakpoint, Sascha had his lead boots on at the net to miss the volley.

That handed momentum to Team World as they moved into a 5-4 lead and they look destined to snatch the set, at 0-40 but Europe saved all three, plus another three to level at 5-5.

With Team World 0 from 6 on breakpoints in the last game, it was only fitting Europe converted their first of the game, aided by a Shapovalov double fault after successfully challenging a first serve that was corrected good. That proved decisive as Team Europe came through 6-3 7-5.

Match Stats

  Federer / Zverev Sock / Shapovalov
Aces 2 4
Double Faults 4 4
1st Serve 66% 59%
1st Serve Points Won 68% (44/65) 72% (26/36)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (17/34) 44% (11/25)
Break Points Saved 94% (15/16) 25% (1/4)
Service Games Played 11 10
1st Serve Return Points Won 28% (10/36) 32% (21/65)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 56% (14/25) 50% (17/34)
Break Points Converted 75% (3/4) 6% (1/16)
Return Games Played 8 7
Service Points Won 62% (61/99) 61% (37/61)
Return Points Won 39% (24/61) 38% (38/99)
Total Points Won 53% (85/160) 47% (75/160)

Highlights

Score: Team Europe 3 – 1 Team World

Thoughts on Day 1

Laver Cup Day 1 2019

It was a great atmosphere. There’s nothing like playing at home. Sascha carried me in the second set and it was great fun out there. My back has recovered (since the US Open) and I’m ready to go for more tomorrow. Federer on his doubles win with Zverev

An interesting first day with some very tight matches. I thought Thiem played well in the first match despite getting a bit tight, but he was smarter on the bigger points. Denis is still too raw and goes for line finding missiles when just bunting the ball would be sufficient.

I was also impressed with Tsitsipas in the tie break against Fritz as he was rock solid. Nadal told him during a toilet break to “just make him play a bit”, and that advice worked a treat as Fritz got tight on his backhand and made tame errors when he should have tried to force the issue.

Foginini was a bit of a let down in his match as he looked like he'd rather be cavorting with Flavia (can you blame him?), but Sock played well and didn't drop serve in the match.

In terms of the doubles, Europe were reasonably lucky; they saved 15 of 16 breakpoints so it could have been entirely different had Team World made one more ball or one of the framed volleys not made it over the net. 

Zverev played pretty well from the baseline, but he's like a statue at the net with his feet stuck to the court, and he never moves forward. Fortunately, Shapovalov was equally all at sea, staying back on his serve and he played like a cat on a hot tin roof. 

As for Federer, I thought he looked sloppy and a bit tired, which is no surprise given the amount of media and work behind the scenes he's already put in this week so far. Some nice touches and volleys but a few errors and his serve didn't look too good either. The low-ish ball toss we saw against Dimitrov was still present, so I am guessing he is not confident to reach for the ball on the second serve to put that work on it.

Anway a great first day with a good atmosphere from the crowd, the benches were involved, and we saw some decent tennis, so I'm looking forward to Saturday and interested to see what the lineups will be.

Laver Cup 2019 Day 2 Schedule

  Team Europe Team World
Day Session 1 pm    
Match 5 Alexander Zverev John Isner
Match 6 Roger Federer Nick Kyrgios
Night Session 7 pm    
Match 7 Rafael Nadal Milos Raonic
Match 8 Rafael Nadal / Stefanos Tsitsipas Nick Kyrgios / Jack Sock

What did you guys make of the first day of the Laver Cup 2019? How did you rate Fed in the doubles? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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46 Comments

  1. That was quick Jonathan :D. We were there and we haven’t even arrived to the hotel yet but you got the time to write the post. Good job !

  2. Havn’t watched, but it seems rather equal playing, but more luck to Europe so far? Hope Roger has energy left for a wonderful match vs Nick

  3. Sock no like hit backhand. He no can run around it enough fast to hit proper forehand. Mucho weight on body equals mucho inertia move. Zverev no like be close net maybe afraid spiders. Lamp post make nicer figure. Baseline no better, no fecundation idea what to do after 3 shots. Shapovalov much hot blood young man no patience wild shooter killed pigeons. Fed no correctly tuned, static noise on service music. Nice volleys ugly volleys. Black cat white cat. Lucky no get hit by Alex racquet.

    1. I was actually surprised how well Sock moved given he looked to be carrying way more weight than a year ago.

      I dunno how a thumb injury prevents you training, you could use that time to get fitter than you have ever been legs wise. If I can maintain a level of fitness working on a laptop most of the day he has no excuse. Pomodoro, 22 minutes work, then 8 minutes break filled with press ups, lunges etc. Done!

      Fritz looks like he’s gotten stronger physically though, I would guess his ranking will rise from what I saw.

  4. Decent tennis and still so so cool to see the youngsters and the veterans together. Love that about this format. Am also reminded how much I love the visibility with these dark courts.
    Guess we’ll see tomorrow if Rog is really fully fit, since Nick typically brings his best in his matches against the titans.
    So glad some of our number are there in person! Hope you give us some thoughts & reactions!

    1. Yeah it’s cool to see the guys coaching. I dunno why any young player would turn it down. FAA for example could surely have learnt something but guess he wants to pave his own way.

      1. Yes I was disappointed to read he’d turned it down. Would have liked to have seen a captain’s choice from somewhere other than north america too – De Minaur? – but I guess that’s why it’s called a captain’s choice.

  5. I know when AO starts next year, we will hope for a early Rafa exit, but damn Im really starting to like the guy! Roger ofc respects him and is happy to be around him, so ill respect him too on Rogers behalf.

    1. Yeah, he feels and lives every match at 200%, whether he’s playing or not. I get tired just watching his reactions! Besides their skills it’s also their passion and dedication to the sport that keeps these guys at the top of the game for so long. But that’s something that can barely be taught to the youngsters. Either you have or you don’t.

    2. To me is really surprising the close and good relationship they seem to have. Nonetheless they are and have been archirrivals. Inspiring.

      I don’t seem them being the same Nole despite of the huge respect they both have for him.

      1. No one likes Djokovic.
        Nadal wants to win everything, playstation match, cards game, exhibition matches. Even if he’s not playing himself, like here. He’s that obssesive, so funny to watch him coach Federer.

  6. Thanks for quick Day1 recap, only blip was Fognini. It was really a really poor match by him. Roger looks a bit tired hence some sloppy mistakes and poor serving. All the LC promotional work must have snapped some energy. I am still a tad worried about his back, very noticeable when he is serving. This will be dangerous against NK. Hope for a good serving day.

    1. All the promotional work is main activity there, so Roger should be given notes not for his play but for his media/selling activity. And this was perfect, no?
      BTW – I think, Roger was good in doubles. Very agile,moving well, showing instinct on the net (twice rescuing his life from Sock’s shots aiming to kill him).
      But I don’t see him defeating Kyrgios. That’s why he chose to play Kyrgios on day 2, to lose only 2 points. On day 3 he plays sad Raonic or Shapo and wins 3. On the end he plays with Rafa the deciding double and they win, whoever the opponent (look screenplay).

      1. The fixing/screenplay narrative is stupid. Do you really think these guys are good enough to fix results in the manner they are being played? 😆 So Thiem lets Shapo get to 9-7 and then a return that barely makes it over the net was part of the script.

      2. Area 51. Elvis is alive. Man never got to the moon. Commercial airplanes spray toxins. Homeopathy works. Aliens are among us and built pyramids. Vaccines cause autism. Elvis was never born.

      3. @Jon&Rui
        You both completely missed my point.
        I was not suggesting matches to be fixed. It was about scheduling, who plays when. And this is of course built-in into the tournament’s concept.
        You have 2 from Big3 and you don’t let them play singles on first day, because the number of singles for every player is limited to 2. So you let play the first day those, who are more probable to lose. If Thiem loses on day 1, it’s only 1 point lost. If Thiem loses on final day, it’s 3 points lost.
        So, if this is up to the nominal captain (I would say maybe more Roger as a real captain), I would do the same.
        I don’t know, how pairs are determined for every day. It’s probably negotiated between BB and JMR.
        To give a good show is more important than who wins.
        Of course Federer is expected to play every day plus eventually the decider.
        Is my assumption, potential threats for Fed to be Kyrgios and eventually Isner?
        Is my assumption wrong, the tournament’s “management” (whoever it is) will not let slip this match-up?
        I was a bit surprised, it was scheduled for today and then thought, maybe because the win may be not guaranteed for Europe and I’m sure, the optimal outcome for Fed is not only to have exciting matches, but also to win (just in Switzerland), so Fed can triumph here too?
        Are such calculations comparable to talking about fixing matches? Absurd, dear friends.
        Fixing of course does exist. But not needed in an exhibition tournament.
        So don’t tell me, what I was thinking or suggesting. I know, why you do. Because you are not sure, if I’m not a troll (sometimes even telling this directly). Some think, I’m not Federer’s fan but his hater.
        “Area 51. Elvis is alive. Man never got to the moon. Commercial airplanes spray toxins. Homeopathy works. Aliens are among us and built pyramids. Vaccines cause autism. Elvis was never born.”
        I can understand but not accept you calling Thiem to the table in all such cases. Thiem was never born. If he was born, he never hit a yellow ball.
        On a side note – @Rui, homeopathy works. I’m using it to heal a lot of daily health problems (of course, you may say, it’s placebo), also healing this way my dogs (since years). Homeopathy works for animals, where placebo cannot exist.
        You must omit a lot of modern medicine. It’s going closer and closer to black magic (like homeopathy). What works in homeopathic medicaments, is information. What works in modern medicaments is information too (genetics).
        You may laugh. You may use orthodox daily chemistry to kill your pain (and your liver at the same time). I’m killing pains using black magic (=homeopathy, for pain just simple Arnica montana). First learn about homeopathy (and other natural medicine, like acupuncture), then go to Elvis on the moon 😉

      4. If you use the word screenplay, how do you expect that to be interpreted? That means scripted and set up.

        Now you are talking tactical.

      5. @Rui
        BTW – my teacher in veterinary homeopathy is certain Swiss vet, with strong orthodox bacisc (Ph.D.) making use of both sources.
        Something similar to homeopathy is used in very orthodox allergology Very small doses of allergens telling your immune system to not overreact when you have contact with the same allergens but in a bigger doses. The same way you can make you immune to some toxic substances (never read Conan Doyle?). But you are allowed to think it’s black magic. But better for you, you know, black magic can work too, if you believe (placebo).

      6. @Jon
        No, I’m never talking tactical.
        The difference is – you interpreted “screenplay” as fixing. I interpret “screenplay” as “scheduling”, which is OK in an exhibition. The same in a real tournament would be maybe fixing, but we are speaking about LC, no?
        Maybe I should have used another word to not stimulate fixing associations. Which word would be better in this context?
        And I thought, it’s obvious, every single match is highly competitive, maybe more than in a normal tournament. Because of very specific (I mean it positive) environment. Being cheered up and kind of coached by Federer and Nadal is amazing thing and this can happen only in an event like this.
        I’m sure, Thiem was happy about this win more than he would be, playing for the title (well, maybe excluding slams ;)). And he will not be unhappy because he played for 1 point only and 99% will not play next match in Geneva. But he will sit on the bank with the best, warm-up Federer (like he did in Prague before Fed’s last day’s match against Kyrgios) or Rafa. Can he have a better chance to restore his lost fitness and confidence after almost not playing since Kitzbuehel? Not black magi´c but Federer+ Magic 🙂

      7. @Pablo
        Typical answer from someone with newspaper-knowledge.
        If I KNOW (by experience, must not believe), that homeopathy works, does not mean, I don’t “believe” in science or vaccines. Science is not something I can believe in or not. If it’s is, it’s not science but a big lie. Never heard about such in medicine or pharmacy?
        No I must think, if you get a vaccine, it only works, if you believe?
        You thinking and kind of discussing is like.
        Dies Elvis live?
        Maybe not, but grapes have better taste than potatoes.
        I will no more respond your comments. Have told you before, but you provoked me again. Next time you will not.

      8. Sorry, PRF, but I cannot let this one go: homeopathy does not work, and it cannot possibly work. It’s a fact no matter how one *feels* about it.
        More: it should be criminalized, the doctors who prescribe it and the politicians who legalized such scams. And you, yes, you, should be legally accountable when you apply such practices to the animals you love.
        Argue what you want, but it’s as certain as the earth not being flat. Fool yourself as much as you want, you are free to do it, drink as much water with sugar as you want. But you are wrong if you think it works and it’s a fact. Even the “placebo” argument is unacceptable: with so much substances shown to have a positive effect against so many illnesses, it’s ethically questionable to make a case for “placebo”.
        And I am not even being half violent as I feel like being when the subject is scams, ignorance and superstition.
        I repeat: these are not opinions, these are facts. And those so called “doctors” are wrong. Period.

      9. Well said Rui. When all the scientific evidence points in one direction and you choose to go on the opposite side it can only be called ignorance.

      10. @Rui
        I’m sorry, I’m in the same position as you (can’t let it go) but from different reasons.
        Your argument about “facts” against “feelings” is not worth a piece of shit. What was facts (in some cases at least”) for Aristotle, Hipokrates, Newton and even Einstein, must be forgotten today. Not blaming the big brains of those times, we know more today. Science is not done once for ever like every other knowledge (empirical, experimental …).
        Many “scientific” medicaments show to be killers after some time. One of such medicaments, I’m taking since 40 years, was not known to cause dependence. Now they are and there is no way known to get rid of it. So millions of people cannot live without the medicament, while the primary disease is long gone. From last 40 years of my life I was ill over 2-3 years, the next 37 I must rely on the faulty medicament and if for any reason they stop the production (maybe assuming, all affected are dead, I’m done.
        These are facts.
        Now your argumentation – you are killing every my argument with something non-existing, you call “facts”. You even want to make me legally responsible for healing my beloved animals (I stopped to love humans long ago). You are crazy. These homeopathic medicaments/supplements are legally allowed, registered by pharmaceutical authorities and sold only in pharmacies. There are currently even homeopathic vaccines (not classical one-substance after Hahnemann). They are registered with FDA and respective authorities in other countries.
        In your relation to “facts” you are religious, not scientific. You should be pursued for publishing such “facts” and telling people, they are unique. Why? Because you believe it.
        Don’t think, I’m not going to vet (most are oetodox in my country; for a homeopathic vet I must call to Switzerland or Germany (some of them are Ph.D. in veterinary medicine, so they know something about “facts”. Homeopathy has no medicaments for every disease (just like orthodox medicine).
        What would you say about “facts”, if you get an orthodox medicament for your child prescribed by your physician, whom you trust and then you read in the leaflet about side effects,, including lethal.
        A wise physician/vet should follow the Hipokrates oath and choose the best way of healing he knows just for the given case. Including homeopathy, placebo and even prayers (which are a kind of placebo) and black magic.
        Because it has no relation to the post, we can continue, if you want, by private channels, but i guess, you only speak Chines while I only Hindi. No chance we even find a common definition for fact. Howgh 🙂

      11. Didn’t Steve Jobs believe in homoeopathy?

        Maybe the definition of homoeopathy is lost a bit here? By its true definition, it’s clearly bullshit i.e. diluting certain chemicals which cause symptoms in higher amounts but will cure you when diluted.

        But now people take Homeopathy to mean natural/complementary medicine. So take tea tree as an example. That can be used. Or ginger etc.

      12. Please PRF, don’t insist. It has been shown to not work, time and again. No molecules=no substance. Nothing can only do nothing. Which is exactly what is there left to add to this.

      13. Tea, ginger and many other plants contain substances with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungi and soothing effects. There are thousands and it would be too boring to list. The danger is assuming that all things “natural” are good and all things “synthetic” are bad.
        Everything must be tested before taking.
        Being “natural” carries no magical property and makes it no better or worse than a “synthetic” substance. Compare the effects of aspirin (synthetic) with cocaine (natural)…

  7. Great first day. Atmosphere is terrific, never heard anything as loud as the welcome Fed got at beginning of the day. Butterflies!
    Agree with all yr thoughts Jon but I actually thought Fed played ok in the dubs, returned ok and some great volleys. The serve was as much a result of Saschas appalling net play, trying for too much. Sasxga is just like a statue at net, no anticipation and troubled by the pace. Doesn’t really understand the patterns at all. However, had to given credit for some clutch serving ( particularly given his lousy DFitis of late).
    Thiem has to be reasonably pleased given recent form. Denis continues to frustrate with his in and out tennis. But if he can serve 10 aces on that court what will Isner and Nick produce!!!

    Fan view:
    Venue is good, getting in and out pretty quick.
    Food/drink ok, but queues not great. Given the space I thought more outlets cld hv been provided.
    Fan zone and practice court well conceived. Easy viewing if you have patience. Love the deckchairs!
    One black mark tho. Transport at end of evening session a nightmare. Too few buses and too many people. Only solution is to walk back to station and go from there, which seems ridiculous given the encouragement to use the buses, and the fact they stop outside. All they need to do is provide more. Lack of Swiss efficiency there, but I am so spoiled by the O2 I guess. A local did tell me its a massive issue at the Palexpo every time there’s an event on. Everything else pretty much well thought thru for fans but that was not fun at 11pm! Took over an hour to get back to hotel for a journey which should take 12 minutes! A lot of disgruntled ppl!

    Not sure why Fed putting himself on the line so early? Just hope he serves well!
    And Rafa playing twice with the wrist?
    Looking forward to another great day of tennis and atmosphere! Vibes!

    1. Yeah I guess my writing sounds as though Fed played terribly 😆 but he was good at the net, lots of good anticipation as usual.

      I saw your tweet about the buses. Wonder if they can fix it up for Night 2? Might be even busier tonight. How come you didn’t have a Mercedes ECG to pick you up outside?

  8. Love the Laver Cup. so many positives. Roger I don’t think looks fully
    fit but I guess playing against NK will tell. It’s strange to see these
    players in such a different light…Rafa looks slightly more fragile not
    the usual bull we are used to,more human. Was sorry for Fabio
    just couldn’t get going. Think the best quote was from Mary Carillo
    who said ‘Rafa going to sleep well tonight he’s played every point in
    every match’ !

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