In the most looked forward to session in Laver Cup history, Team Europe’s Andy Murray takes on Team World’s Alex de Minaur in singles. This match will be followed by the blockbuster, tear-jerking doubles affair featuring Team Europe’s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who take on Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Since they are being played on Day 1, both matches are 1 point matches. These will be followed by the 2- and 3-point matches which will be played on Saturday and Sunday before the Laver Cup is awarded Sunday afternoon.
Since Laver Cup rules are being stretched to allow Federer to pre-plan to play only doubles this weekend, everyone watching knows the night-cap will be the tennis world’s last chance to see Federer in action.
So, these matches are both Laver Cup critical and part of an emotional ceremony sending off one of the best players of all time.
Laver Cup Day 1 Session 2 Predictions
Match 3 – Singles (1 Match Point)
Andy Murray vs Alex de Minaur
Head to Head: de Minaur leads 1-0
While everyone is looking forward to the doubles, this match provides a nice story on its own. Match 3 pits a 35-year-old veteran vs 23-year-old climber. It is also a contest between two Laver Cup rookies.
Now ranked #43 in the world, Murray has made an incredible comeback from injuries and Covid. His play at the US Open shows he is still a tough out and the best 2 of 3, with a 10 point tiebreaker for the third set gives him a chance to play hard for a short amount of time. In addition, Murray is playing for the home team in his home country. The London fans will be out in force to support their man.
de Minaur had a respectable, but not outstanding summer. He won the ATP 250 event in Atlanta and advanced a few rounds at the US Open. That will not be enough. Murray’s experience, the crowd, and the Federer effect will be too much for the young Aussie.
Prediction: Murray in 2
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Match 4 – Doubles (1 Match Point)
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe
Head to Head: First Match
Two all-time megastars vs mid-career journeyman and a rising new star. Holders of 42 Grand Slam titles vs players who have never played a Grand Slam singles final. Arguably the world’s greatest ever player playing his final competitive match in front of an adoring crowd and a world-wide audience.
It should be, it almost must be, that Federer and Nadal win this match.
Not so fast. If Federer were really healthy, he’d be playing singles and doubles this weekend at the Laver Cup as the rules prescribe. If this was a stellar Laver Cup duo, Captain Bjorn Borg might hold them for a 2- or 3-point match.
Sock is a Laver Cup doubles stalwart who holds the record with seven Laver Cup doubles wins. Tiafoe is a rising star who can throw all over the court and plays doubles somewhat regularly.
While sentiment and history favor Federer and Nadal, Sock and Tiafoe are Laver Cup veterans who can overcome the fans and the wishes for a fairly-tale ending. If Team World wants to challenge Team Europe and finally take the Laver Cup, they need to win matches like this one.
Anyone who’s seen Laver Cup doubles knows the intensity and skill needed to win; Sock and Tiafoe will have both Friday night.
Prediction: Sock and Tiafoe in 2
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