Laver Cup: Dominant Team World rules Vancouver court to retain tennis trophy

Team World won in straight sets by taking both tiebreakers Sunday 7-4 and 7-6 to get to 13 points to retain the Laver Cup.

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The math was daunting and the competition was determined to quickly seal the deal.

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For Team Europe to mount a massive Laver Cup rally Sunday — it needed to win the four remaining matches and leap from two to 14 points by being awarded three points for each match win — just to reclaim the trophy from Team World. A number of factors had to add up for that miracle to happen at Rogers Arena.

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After all, Team World started the day up 10-2. It seemed like just a matter of time before it would prevail.

For starters, Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz of Team Europe had to get the better of sensational shot-shapers in the creative Frances Tiafoe and service bombs from whiz-kid Ben Shelton to keep Team World from getting to 13 event points and popping the champagne corks.

Team World won in straight sets by taking both tiebreakers Sunday 7-4 and 7-6. Not that is was easy.

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laver cup vancouver
Team World celebrates with the Laver Cup trophy after defeating Team Europe as Rod Laver looks on during day three of the Laver Cup at Rogers Arena on Sept. 24, 2023 in Vancouver. Photo by Matthew Stockman /Getty Images for Laver Cup

In the first set, Shelton unloaded a 220 km/h bomb to get the set to 5-5, but Rublev served an ace to get it to 6-5 before Team World responded to force the first tiebreaker. Shelton then let go a 220 km/h serve to get the tiebreaker to 6-4 and then another one his heaters was too much to cap the 7-4 win.

In the second set, Shelton was at it again. He had a 196 km/h serve to get the set to 6-5 World, but Europe rallied back to force a second tiebreaker. And in that showdown, Sheldon’s serve was once again too much to handle for a 7-6 World win that clinched the trophy.

“An unbelievable moment,” said Tiafoe. “A lot of fun. Now it’s time to celebrate.”

Said Sheldon, who went undefeated in singles and doubles play: “Great for me in a team environment and it’s easy to play when I’m hyped up and playing with Frances speaks for itself. Fun guy.”

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Maybe Team World captain John McEnroe put it best about what the three-day hunt meant.

“It felt unbelievable to kick their ass baby,” screamed McEnroe. “I look forward to having my team back next year in Berlin.

“They were too good this time,” acknowledged Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg.

More to come …

bkuzma@postmedia.com


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