US Open champ Daniil Medvedev made his Laver Cup debut on Saturday night at the TD Garden, giving Bostonians their first glimpse of the man who earlier this month halted history, stopping the calendar-year-Grand-Slam-seeking Novak Djokovic in his tracks in Flushing Meadows
The Russian flashed the same form that led him to his first major singles title, defeating Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, 6-4 6-0 in a speedy one-hour and 15 minutes. Ahead 9-1, Team Europe is now just four points from a fourth straight title.
“I played unbelievable tennis, especially in the second set,” said Medvedev. “I didn’t know what to expect because after the US Open, I didn’t play for a week-and-a-half. I came here, practiced as much as I could the last three days. I didn’t hit many balls but, surprisingly, I was feeling good.
At first, it was not easy. The ball was not going as fast as I wanted. He was playing really good. Then I just couldn’t miss a ball anymore. I’m really happy about it.”
Medvedev, who earlier this year became the first World No. 2 not named Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray in more than a decade-and-a-half, came into the match 1-2 against Shapovalov. But they hadn’t faced each other since 2018. As the Canadian discovered, Medvedev is a whole different player now, having since reached three major finals.
Shapovalov, 22, dug himself a hole at 4-all in the opening set, broken at love. Medvedev subsequently consolidated for the one-set advantage.
Medvedev broke the 12th-ranked Shapovalov to open the second and would reel off nine straight games to seal the one-sided victory.
Shapovalov, who this summer reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, joined John Isner on Friday night in doubles to provide Team World with its only point (def. Alexander Zverev/Matteo Berrettini 4-6 7-6(2) 10-1).