TEAM Europe have tightened their grip on a second Laver Cup triumph as they extended their lead to 7-1 after Roger Federer dazzled Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev defeated John Isner.
The roars at the United Center in Chicago the previous evening were reserved more for underdogs Team World but there was no escaping Federer’s casual brilliance on day two, as he won 6-3, 6-2 in a tour de force.
“I felt good from the beginning and that’s not usual. We need some matches to get going, but today I was very clear in my game plan and I got wonderful support from my team,” Federer said in his post-match court-side interview.
Kyrgios, the high-spirited Australian, tends to reserve his best for the greats of the game.
He regularly loses to inferior players but is 1-3 against Federer. And so the game between the two immensely talented players went again, just as it had three weeks ago at the US Open, as Kyrgios was left in awe of the shot selection employed by Federer.
It took just three games for Federer to break Kyrgios in the opening set, but he waited even less in the second, breaking him in his first service game of the second set with a masterful combination of play that kept the crowd in rapture.
That is not to take anything away from Kyrgios, however.
At times, he also was sharp, and sent blitzing passing shots past Federer but the glimpses of brilliance were far too few.
At a crucial juncture in the second, with Kyrgios trying to save a break point at 1-3 with Federer holding an advantage, a line judge called his ace out. The computer system Hawk-eye showed otherwise and the chair umpire ruled the point to be recontested.
That prompted vocal protests from Kyrgios, who branded the decision a “s*** judgment”, while Team World captain John McEnroe tongue-in-cheek commented he hoped the umpire would “get a little present after the match”.
But by the end of the one-hour and 40-minute encounter, Federer simply proved a superior player. He only found his rhythm more in the second set to win 22 more winners than Kyrgios and served out the match with an eighth ace. German Zverev rallied to beat new dad Isner 3-6 7-6 10-7.
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