Team Europe took a tight grip on the Laver Cup, but Team World’s victory in the concluding doubles match on Friday gave them hope.
Team World had the support of the crowd in Boston, but it did not help Felix Auger-Aliassime and Reilly Opelka who were beaten 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 10-8 and 6-3 7-6 (7-4) by Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud respectively.
In the late singles match, Andrey Rublev got the better of Diego Schwartzman in a titanic battle.
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Argentina star Schwartzman took the opening set and led 6-2 in the match tie-break after Rublev had taken the second.
But the Russian dug deep into his reserves to secure a 4-6 6-3 11-9 win after an hour and 51 minutes.
“It’s amazing,” Rublev said. “I know most of the people were supporting Diego, which is normal because he is from Team World. But the atmosphere tonight was amazing.
It was so close. Diego was leading all the super tie-break, but in the end I found a way to win.
“It happens. This is tennis, this is sport and it’s emotions. Someone has to win and someone has to lose.”
With three defeats from the opening trio of matches, there was a fear the contest would get away from Team World before it had started.
However, John Isner and Denis Shapovalov gave the fans in Boston something to cling to with a battling 4-6 7-6(2) 10-1 win over Berrettini and Alexander Zverev.
Isner lost his opening service game to love, but from that point he was inspired and took Shapovalov along with him for a thrilling win.
The Laver Cup continues on Saturday, with Stefanos Tsitsipas kicking things off against Nick Kyrgios.
Zverev faces Isner in the second singles, before Daniil Medvedev faces Shapovalov.
Saturday’s action concludes with a doubles match between Rublev and Tsitsipas and Isner and Kyrgios.
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