Francis Tiafoe pulled off a comeback win over Stefanos Tsitsipas as Team World beat Team Europe for the first time in Laver Cup to spoil Roger Federer’s farewell.
Having started the day trailing 8-4 and staring at a fifth straight defeat in the event co-founded by Federer, John McEnroe’s squad needed a miracle to turn things around with a surging Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas standing in their way.
Team World got off to a perfect start in their quest for their first Laver Cup win as Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and American Sock defeated Briton Andy Murray and Italian Matteo Berrettini 2-6 6-3 10-8 for three vital points.
Auger-Aliassime then put his side on the cusp of a win after getting the better of Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-6(3) with the 21-time grand slam champion helpless against the Canadian’s powerful strokes.
A decider at the O2 arena seemed inevitable as Stefanos Tsitsipas powered to a 6-1 lead over Francis Tiafoe in the next contest of the tournament but the US Open semifinalist had other ideas.
The American saved four match points in the tiebreak of the second set before surging to a 1-6 7-6(11) 10-8 victory. The Greek sent a forehand into the net on match point and Tiafoe collapsed to the court and was immediately buried under a pile of his red-shirted teammates and captain McEnroe.
Team World’s win also meant that Roger Federer’s career ended without another trophy for the 20-time grand slam winner. Apart from playing his last-ever competitive match, he had sat courtside in every match, offering his words of wisdom and support to his teammates.
Team World will now look to retain its title next year when the event takes place in Vancouver.