Fritz Extends Team World’s Perfect Start At Laver Cup
After a perfect 4-0 start for Team World on Friday at the Laver Cup, Taylor Fritz maintained the trophy-holders’ perfect record in Vancouver on Saturday afternoon. The American played his best early and late in a 6-2, 7-6(3) win against Team Europe’s Andrey Rublev, extending his team’s lead to 6-0 by earning two points for his Day 2 victory.
In a battle of aggressive baseliners, Fritz’s clean ball-striking helped him dictate more of the action on the indoor hard courts. Rublev had his moments, including several screaming return winners, but Fritz’s steadier tennis — and dogged defence at times — made the difference.
Fritz immediately carried over the momentum from Friday by breaking in the opening game and easing to a one-set lead. Rublev, seeking to win Team Europe’s first singles set at this year’s event, started well in set two but saw his 3-0 lead erased as Fritz came on strong late.
Both players fought off a break point late in set two, with Rublev’s break chance doubling as a set point at 6-5. In the decisive tie-break, Fritz hit two brilliant half-volleys to help seal the match.
“I was telling my team, I feel like I’ve always been much better at the handsy half-volley pick-ups and stuff,” Fritz said of those moments of magic. “I feel like people definitely don’t believe that I have that. But I think I’m more likely to miss the easier volleys than the half-volleys.”
Fritz was in constant communication with captain John McEnroe and his team during changeovers, and the American said he thrives in the group setting.
“Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game,” he explained. “I feel like I always play better actually, I feel like my record in team events is really strong and it’s because I have a team cheering for me. I can get pumped up for them, I’m excited to play for them. It just adds a lot more pressure and fire to it and I think I play better in those situations.”
Fritz’s win passes the baton to Tommy Paul, who will be the next man up to continue his team’s perfect run when he takes on Casper Ruud to close the day session. In the evening slate, Frances Tiafoe will play Hubert Hurkacz before Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton take on Hurkacz and Gael Monfils in doubles.
After one point was awarded for each win on Day 1 at Laver Cup, two points are on offer for each win on Saturday. On Sunday, three points will be awarded for each victory. With a 6-0 lead, Team World is nearly halfway to the 13 points needed to win the trophy.