Felix Auger-Aliassime beats Novak Djokovic to put Team World on cusp of victory
Felix Auger-Aliassime stunned Novak Djokovic to help Team World turn the tables on their European rivals and move one win away from a maiden Laver Cup title in London.
Auger-Aliassime produced an excellent display in a 6-3 7-6 (2) victory that married big serving with wonderful groundstrokes against Wimbledon champion Djokovic.
It was Auger-Aliassime’s second consecutive match on the final day of the Ryder Cup-style team event at the O2 after the Canadian teamed up with Jack Sock to down Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini in the doubles.
Team Europe held a four-point advantage after Saturday’s action, but with matches worth three points on the third day Team World went into the 11th contest of the competition with a 10-8 lead in the race to 13.
Auger-Aliassime said on-court: “Today has been fantastic so far. Right now it is one of the best performances in my career so far.
“I think I have been close a few times in recent times against these great champions so it feels great to get a win like this, especially in this great arena and for Team World.”
Auger-Aliassime barely had time to register his doubles success with team-mate Sock before he was back on court to face Djokovic.
When 21-time grand-slam winner Djokovic claimed a break in the opening game of the match, it appeared a tall task for world number 13 Auger-Aliassime.
But the 22-year-old remained undeterred and quickly got the set back on serve before he reeled off three games in a row at a critical moment to take the opener in 40 minutes.
Djokovic and Team Europe looked shell-shocked and despite breaks being exchanged at the start of the second set, it was the Canadian who kept bringing his A-game when needed to ease to victory in the tie-break.
It made it back-to-back triumphs for Auger-Aliassime, who also shone alongside Sock to beat Murray and Berrettini 2-6 6-3 10-8 at the start of Sunday’s action.
The thrilling 95-minute encounter opened up proceedings at the O2, with Roger Federer watching on from the Team Europe bench hoping to lift silverware for one last time.
Federer will now be relying on Stefanos Tsitsipas to come good against US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe, who has already been party pooper once this weekend when he and Sock beat the Swiss great and Rafael Nadal in Federer’s final professional match on Friday.
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