Rublev Rallies Past Schwartzman At Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2021

Diego Schwartzman put himself in strong position to narrow Team World’s deficit on Friday at the Laver Cup, but Team Europe’s Andrey Rublev did not allow the Argentine to finish the job.

The World No. 5 rallied past Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 11-9 to give Team Europe a 3-0 lead, before John Isner and Denis Shapovalov earned Team World’s first win in the evening’s doubles match.

Rublev rallied from 2/6 in the Match Tie-break to triumph after one hour and 51 minutes.

“It’s amazing. I know most of the people were supporting Diego, which is normal because he is from Team World. But the atmosphere tonight was amazing,” Rublev said in his on-court interview. “I want to say thank you so much for coming to support your favourite players, your favourite teams. This means a lot to us.”

The Boston crowd was fully behind Schwartzman, chanting “Ole! Ole, Ole, Ole! Diego! Diego!” at points during the match. The Team World bench — including Nick Kyrgios, John Isner and Jack Sock — also urged the fans inside TD Garden to complete the wave around the arena.

But Rublev spoiled the party, and prevented the Argentine from earning his team’s first win of the weekend. The Russian made uncharacteristic unforced errors on the forehand side early in the Match Tie-break to dig himself a hole.

But the recent Cincinnati finalist clawed his way out of it by eliminating his baseline mistakes and playing with controlled aggression. It was not easy to close out the match, however.

Rublev bent over in disbelief after hitting a double fault on his first match point at 9/8. Two points later, he made amends by finishing off an incredible rally at the net, putting away the scrappy Schwartzman with a final forehand volley.

“It was so close. Diego was leading all the super tie-break, but in the end I found a way to win,” Rublev said. “It happens. This is tennis, this is sport and it’s emotions. Someone has to win and someone has to lose.”

Team World bounced back when Isner and Shapovalov beat Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-1.

Isner, one of the biggest servers in tennis history, was broken at love to start the match. But the crowd went crazy in support of the American and Shapovalov, who improved their level as play went on and won some incredible points with jaw-dropping shotmaking. 

“Honestly I think the credit goes big-time to John. The guy played incredibly today. He carried me after a couple of those misses and he really helped lift my game up as well,” Shapovalov said in the on-court interview. “This guy talks about being a servebot, but today I think he was more of a returnbot as well.”

Each match on Saturday will be worth two points, giving Team World an opportunity to continue its comeback.

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