Laver Cup 2021 Review Combo

The Laver Cup: 2021 Tournament Review

After three successful events in Prague, Chicago and Geneva, the Laver Cup returned stateside in 2021 for its fourth event. 

Boston, Massachusetts welcomed fans from around the globe to TD Garden, home of the Bruins of the NHL and Celtics of the NBA. After the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, fans eagerly anticipated

Let Tennishead take you through all the battles of the star-studded event between Team Europe and Team World.

2021 Laver Cup Day One

The elite exhibition event kicked off with a singles rubber between world number 10 Casper Ruud and Toronto Masters finalist Reilly Opelka, both of whom were making their Laver Cup debut.

After Ruud secured a double break to clinch the opening set 6-3, the second was a far closer affair, with neither man surrendering a break, forcing a tiebreak. Tied at 1-1, Ruud had a forehand right down the middle of the court. Taking a leaf out of Ivan Lendl’s playbook, Ruud rocketed the ball right at Opelka, securing the mini-break.

Serving down match point at 4-6, Opelka could not handle a deep return from Ruud, pushing a forehand into the net. 1-0 Team Europe.



In the second rubber, two more debutants did battle in Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini and world number 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime in a head-to-head led 2-1 by Berrettini but with Auger-Aliassime winning their most recent meeting at the Cincinnati Masters just the month prior.

And it was the young Canadian who gained the upper hand first, clinching the first break for 4-2 and serving for the opening set at 5-3. But Auger-Aliassime could not convert, with the first set eventually culminating in a tiebreak, at which point the Team World player did come out on top 7-3.


ALSO READ: The Laver Cup: 2017 Tournament Review


But Berrettini was still well in it, and secured the only break of the second set in the final game to take it 7-5 and into a match tiebreak. Serving up a mini-break at 7-6, Auger-Aliassime had a half-volley drop shot to put away the point, but dumped it in the net to hand Berrettini the point.

More nerves from the youngster set the Italian up with match point at 9-8 on the Auger-Aliassime serve, sealing the match with a blistering crosscourt backhand that was too much to handle. 2-0 Team Europe.



In the final singles match of day one, another first-timer in Andrey Rublev took on 2018 participant Diego Schwartzman in just their second ever meeting and first since 2017, which Schwartzman won at Roland Garros. After Schwartzman gave Team World hope by taking the opener 6-4, Rublev ensured it was honours even with a 6-3 second set, and a match tiebreak was again required to separate the pair.

A forehand long from Rublev gave Schwartzman a double mini-break for 5-2 as he looked in control, before the score was levelled again at 8-8, both men two points from victory. Rublev had the first match point, but squandered it with a tight double fault. He took the second after a superb final rally to win it 11-9 and put Team Europe 3-0 to the good.



Onto the first doubles clash of the event, and Berrettini returned to court alongside Alexander Zverev, taking the North American pairing of John Isner and Denis Shapovalov. The Europeans dominated early with a break to love in the first game.

They lost that lead for 3-3 but broke back immediately for 4-3 and held the lead until they won the set 6-4. One break each in the second set meant a tiebreak would decide the second set, and it was Isner and Shapovalov that surged there to win 7-2 and set up a match tiebreak.

The duo carried their momentum forward to win eight points consecutively to start the breaker, coming out 10-1 winners in the tiebreak to get Team World on the board, 3-1 Europe.



2021 Laver Cup Day Two 

Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas lined up first on day two, making their fourth and second Laver Cup appearances respectively. The Australian led the pair’s head-to-head 2-0, with both previous matches coming on outdoor hard courts.

But Tsitsipas had Kygrios’ number in this encounter, claiming a simple 6-3, 6-4 victory with a single break in each set to secure the first two-point rubber for Team Europe, putting them up 5-1.



With Europe starting to pull away, the next rubber could prove crucial for the outcome of the event as Zverev faced Isner. Both were impervious on their serve, with neither facing a break point until halfway through the second set as they split the score 7-6 (7-5) Zverev and 7-6 (8-6) Isner. Another match tiebreak, the fourth of the event so far.


ALSO READ: The Laver Cup: 2018 Tournament Review


Zverev snatched the initiative with a tricky return and driven backhand to take a 3-2 mini-break, before sealing another for 6-3. Up 8-5, the match was on the German’s racket, and he took it with a backhand pass followed by a netted forehand slice from Isner on the next point to clinch it 10-5 and put Europe up 7-1.



Team World desperately needed a win in their next rubber, but that would not come easy as Shapovalov was tasked with bringing down newly-crowned US Open champion Daniil Medvedev to do so. And while the Canadian held on until he had his serve broken for 5-4 in the opening set, at which point the Russian just ran away with the win. 6-4, 6-0 in under 80 minutes, placing Team Europe firmly in control at 9-1.



Isner and Kyrgios were selected to turn Team World’s predicament around as they faced Rublev and Tsitsipas in the closing doubles rubber of day two. Despite going down an early break, the Australian-American pairing clawed their way back to take the first set 10-8 in a tense tiebreak. However, a single break proved enough for Rublev and Tsitsipas to take the second set 6-3 in barely 30 minutes for yet another deciding match tiebreak.

And after going up a double mini-break for 4-0 the European pair remained rock solid on serve to clinch the match with a score of 10-4, leaving Team World dangling by a thread down 11-1. They would have to win all four rubbers on day three to overturn the deficit and lift the Laver Cup for the first time.



2021 Laver Cup Day Three

In the third and final doubles rubber of the 2021 Laver Cup, Rublev returned to court for a third time, this time alongside Zverev, also playing his third tie at the event. They took on Opelka and Shapovalov as they hoped to keep Team World alive.


ALSO READ: The Laver Cup: 2019 Tournament Review


After Rublev and Zverev easily took a double break and the first set 6-2, it looked gloomy for the Canadian-American pairing, but they rallied in the second to force a tiebreak. They won the breaker 7-4 to bring up a sixth match tiebreak in nine ties.

It was not to be for Team World though as Rublev and Zverev reset to win eight of the first 10 points before a put away volley from Rublev for 10-3 sealed a fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph for Team Europe.



Summary: Team Europe 14-1 Team World

While the majority of the individual rubbers were enthralling tussles, in the end too many went the way of Team Europe to make the fourth edition of the Laver Cup a close contest. 2018 has so far been the only other event that has not gone down to a 12th and final rubber to decide the tournament, and that event at least made it to an 11th match before being decided.

Still, fans were no doubt delighted by the quality of play displayed throughout the three days of competition, particularly if backing the Europeans to clinch a fourth consecutive victory. Team World will again be hungry to upset the holders in London for the fifth edition, while fans will have one last chance to see the great Roger Federer on court, alongside Big Four rivals Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray no less.

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