Federer-Zverev put Europe in front with gutsy win

Federer-Zverev put Europe in front with gutsy win

Team Europe's Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev (right) celebrate winning their doubles match against Team World's Jack Sock and Denis Shapovalov in the Laver Cup. Reuters

Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev claimed a hard-fought doubles victory over Jack Sock and Denis Shapovalov to give Europe a 3-1 lead over Team World after the opening day of the third Laver Cup in Geneva on Friday.

The 38-year-old Swiss delighted his home fans alongside Zverev, as the European pair saw off Shapovalov and Sock 6-3, 7-5 after a dramatic second set.

"All of us tennis players travel around the world for 10, 11 months of the year," Federer told a capacity 18,400-crowd at the Palexpo arena.

"There's no place like playing at home, so this is a very special night for me."

American Sock had earlier defeated Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) in the singles to draw John McEnroe's visitors level after Dominic Thiem's win against Shapovalov.

But Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas restored Europe's advantage by downing Taylor Fritz in a super tie-break to win 6-2, 1-6, 10-7, and Federer and Zverev combined to put Europe in control.

The home duo served out a tight opening set after a single break of serve on their fifth set point, but the match came to life in the second.

Shapovalov and Sock broke Federer in the eighth game to level the set at 4-4, before seeing six set points come and go when Zverev was serving at 4-5.

The rest of Bjorn Borg's Europe, including an animated Rafael Nadal, ran to Federer and Zverev's bench to congratulate their team-mates on then breaking in the 11th game, and the 20-time Grand Slam champion confidently served out the match to prevent a super tie-break.

Earlier on Friday, Thiem staved off three match points to beat Shapovalov in the opening tie.

The two-time French Open runner-up recovered from 9-7 down in a super tie-break to win 6-4, 5-7, 13-11 against Canadian youngster Shapovalov.

Meanwhile, Sock held his nerve in a second-set tie-break to become the first World player to ever win an opening-day singles match, as Fognini was left stunned despite receiving a pep talk mid-match from Federer.

Osaka books final berth 

Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka beat Elise Mertens of Belgium on Saturday to reach the final of the Pan Pacific Open, thrilling her Japanese fans in the city of her birth.

Top seed Osaka dispatched No 9 seed Mertens 6-4, 6-1 in Osaka, western Japan, to reach her first final since winning the Australian Open.

Earlier in the day, Osaka saw off Yulia Putintseva in straight sets, even as she was tricked at times by the Kazakh player's slices and drop shots.

Her challenger in the final will be Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, 28, who ousted former world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 6-3.

Kenin triumphs  

Moscow-born American Sofia Kenin won her third title of a breakthrough year with a hard-fought 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2 victory over Sam Stosur in the final of the Guangzhou Open on Saturday.

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