Cerundolo Wins His First Laver Cup Point, Team World Leads 2-0
Francisco Cerundolo earned his first Laver Cup point for Team World, overcoming Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3 7-5 in the pair’s first meeting.
“[It’s] super fun to play here, I really enjoyed [it], I think I played really well, I felt comfortable since the beginning of the match,” Cerundolo said. “Really happy to get the win and a point for my team and really looking forward for next matches and next days.”
“Playing here in front of Roger, John, Bjorn, it’s amazing for me. To be honest I should be watching them, not them watching me,” said the humble 21-year-old. “I’m trying to learn from John as much as I can … I hope he’s happy with my volleys,” grinned Cerundolo.
The world No. 21 was under pressure early. He saved break point in the third game, before proceeding to turn defense into offense, and quickly raced to a 5-1 lead. Cerundolo faltered as he served for the first set, with Davidovich Fokina recapturing one break of serve.
The Spanish 25 year-old saved four set points, before Cerundolo clinched the opening set as Davidovich Fokina’s forehand found the net.
Cheered on by his teammates in blue, Davidovich Fokina broke Cerundolo’s serve for the first time in the second set. Staring down a 0-2 deficit, the powerful Argentine steadied, breaking twice to win the next three games before a rare forehand error leveled proceedings.
Unperturbed, the Team World debutant reclaimed the advantage and stormed ahead to a 5-4 lead, before Davidovich Fokina broke once again. But a glorious backhand passing winner down the line enabled Cerundolo to break for a 6-5 lead, and he brought the crowd on Rogers Arena to its feet when his Spanish rival succumbed with an unforced error on match point.
“I felt really comfortable with the court, with my game,” said the Argentine. “Because it was my debut year in Laver Cup, I wanted to play well, and I think I did.”
“The energy on the team was fantastic, I really enjoy that,” he added.
Cerundolo’s victory gives Team World a 2-0 edge leading into Friday’s evening session. It’s the first time the men in red have had an early upper hand, a statistic that wasn’t lost on McEnroe. “We’ve got some new blood, there’s a lot of energy,” smiled the Team World Captain. “It’s pretty hard not to be excited, but it’s impossible not to be nervous.”
“Obviously we’ve come in guns blazing, it’s great to have a lead and for Francisco to win, it means a lot,” said McEnroe, acknowledging that the Argentine has one hardest forehands in the men’s game.
Cerundolo, who fired 15 forehand winners on Friday, described the stroke as his “weapon”, one in which he places full trust, both at full pace and to deploy drop shots.