Auger-Aliassime hits forehand

Photo: Martin Sidorjak

After getting some time to recover from Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional farewell to tennis on Friday night, players from Team World and Team Europe were back on court on Saturday afternoon at the O2 in London for the second day of action at the Laver Cup.

With the event tied at 2-2, Félix Auger-Alissiame kicked off proceedings against Matteo Berrettini attempting to give Team World their first lead in the four-year history of the Laver Cup and for the second straight year, he was ultimately defeated by the Italian 7-6(11), 4-6, 10-7 in a tightly contested match.

The opening set was especially close and needed an extended tiebreak of more than 20 minutes to decide it with Berrettini coming out on top. Auger-Aliassime rebounded nicely and raised his level in set two, needing just one break of serve to level the contest. The Italian got off to a quick start in the 10-point match tiebreak and while the Canadian managed to shrink the lead, Berrettini held firm on his own serve at the end to give Team Europe a big two points and a 4-2 lead. He has now won four of the five matches between the two players.     

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“It’s always a great fight against Félix,” said Berrettini, who also beat Auger-Aliassime when the pair faced off at the Laver Cup last year in Boston. “He’s a helluva player, I had to play my best tennis in the breaker to win.”

American Taylor Fritz put Team World back level at 4-4 on day two in Saturday’s second match thanks to an impressive 6-1, 4-6, 10-8 victory over Brit Cameron Norrie. During the evening session, Novak Djokovic marked his return with a dominant 6-1, 6-3 win over U.S. Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe in singles and then teamed up with Berrettini to defeat Alex De Minaur and Jack Sock 7-5, 6-2 in doubles to give Team World an 8-4 lead.

Auger-Aliassime will be part of Sunday’s lineup for the final day of the competition with three points on the line in each of the four matches as Team World looks to pull off a major upset.