Team Europe wins Laver Cup 2021
Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev have sealed Team Europe a fourth straight Laver Cup trophy following a defeat of Reilly Opelka and Denis Shapovalov at Boston’s TD Garden on Sunday.
The comprehensive 14-1 result was secured 6-2, 6-7(4), 10-3 in the opening clash on Day 3 and capped a dominant outing for Captain Bjorn Borg’s line-up.
The Swede has won all four editions of the Laver Cup – in Prague, Chicago, Geneva and now Boston – and paid tribute to his playing cohort, all six of which won at least one match for Team Europe.
“I’m very proud, of course, to defend the title … they played great tennis,” Borg said.
“Of course, Team World, they have the home advantage here but… we have a good relationship, both teams. They’re going to play each other so many times… I love this team. What can you say? It’s been great tennis.”
There were early troubles when the big-serving Opelka was broken in the opening game and when Shapovalov rolled in a double fault to surrender the double break two games later, it was clear the North American tandem needed to gel quickly to stem the flow.
Rublev – while not typically renowned for his doubles exploits – was instrumental in his partnership with Stefanos Tsitsipas as the pair elevated Team Europe to an authoritative 11-1 on Saturday.
And the Russian was at it from the start a day later as he flattened a forehand winner to hold for 4-0.
There was a huge roar from the home crowd when Opelka finally conjured the hold to get Team World on the board. When Rublev overcooked a high backhand volley it handed the men in red a first break point.
The Russian quickly snuffed that out at the net to secure the hold for Zverev and clocked an ace at the 31-minute mark two games later to close to within a set of the silverware.
John McEnroe’s combination was hanging on for dear life when Opelka fended off three straight break points at 2-all in the second set before the pair combined to end a quick-fire volley exchange for a 4-3 hold.
The improbable comeback suddenly became a possibility as Opelka and Shapovalov lifted the crowd with a dominant second-set tiebreak.
But the shift in momentum was all too fleeting as Rublev raised his game another notch in the match tiebreak. The Russian brought up six championship points on a sharp volley and closed it out on the first to complete the resounding triumph.