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Laver Cup 2019 day 1 live streaming, preview and predictions – Thiem, Fognini and Tsitsipas lead defending champions Europe while Federer and Zverev team up for doubles

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 19 Sep 2019
  • Laver Cup 2019 day 1 sees Thiem, Fognini, Tsitsipas and Federer/Zverev taking to the court for Team Europe
  • Team World to be represented on day 1 by Shapovalov, Sock and Fritz
  • Laver Cup 2019 tennis is live from Geneva from 1pm local/12pm BST on Friday 20 September
Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev will team up for doubles on day 1 of the 2019 Laver Cup (PA Sports)

Team Europe begin the defense of their Laver Cup title with Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini and Stefanos Tsitsipas in singles while Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev team up for doubles.

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Day 1 of the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva sees Team World desperate to get off to a good start if they are to avoid losing for the third time to Team Europe.

Each of the previous two editions of the Laver Cup have seen Team Europe lead 3-1 on the first day, winning all three singles matches before losing the doubles match. (It’s almost as if they’re following a script, isn’t it?) While wins on day one are only worth one point each, it’s still vital for Team World – the massive underdogs in Geneva – to prevent Team Europe from building up too much of a lead if they are to have any hope of claiming their first Laver Cup win.

Match 1: Dominic Thiem (Europe) vs Denis Shapovalov (World), 1pm local/12pm BST

A clash between two players both making their second Laver Cup appearance and contesting just their second match, Thiem having beaten John Isner while Shapovalov lost to Alexander Zverev on the opening day in Prague in 2017.

On paper, certainly, the advantage is with Thiem, who is 2-0 vs Shapovalov in addition to being much higher-ranked – world no. 4 to the Canadian’s world no. 33 – and more accomplished than the younger man. And while we tend to associate Thiem with clay and slower surfaces, he has won an indoors hard-court title, in St Petersburg this time last year.

On the other hand, Thiem has been struggling ever since making his second French Open final in June. He won an emotional title in Kitzbuhel in July, his first on home soil, but has paid the price by getting sick afterwards – an illness which hampered him in Montreal, saw him pull out of Cincinnati, contributed to a four-set defeat to Thomas Fabbiano in the first round of the US Open and certainly seems to have been a factor in a shock 3-6, 2-6 defeat to world no. 163 Emil Ruusuvuori during Davis Cup last weekend. Shapovalov has had his best results on outdoor hard courts, but he did play well on indoor hard courts in Rotterdam this spring, not to mention pushing Thiem to three sets in their last encounter. Could Shapovalov set the tone with an upset win over Thiem to get Team World on the board early?

Match 2: Fabio Fognini (Europe) vs Jack Sock (World), to follow

Given Sock’s current singles ranking of world no. 210, it might be surprising to see him on Team World – but then again, although he is 0-2 in singles matches at Laver Cup, he is 5-1 in doubles matches and has earned his team ten points over the last two years.

With every player needing to play at least one singles match over the first two days, it’s a sensible move from captain John McEnroe to put Sock on day one where an (expected) loss from him would only give Team Europe one point – and given that Sock is 0-5 in singles in 2019, it’s a fair expectation that he would lose.

On the other hand, he is up against Fabio Fognini, a man whose unpredictability is legend and who is only 7-7 on hard courts in 2019. The Italian is currently battling an ankle issue and the biggest title of Sock’s career did come on indoor hard courts at the Paris Masters in 2017. Sock is also experienced in Laver Cup while Fognini is making his debut. A victory for the American might strain credulity even at this event, nevertheless.

Match 3: Stefanos Tsitsipas (Europe) vs Taylor Fritz (World), 7pm local/6pm BST

Tsitsipas and Fritz make their Laver Cup debut in what could be quite a high pressure encounter for either or both, depending on the results of previous matches.

World no. 7 Tsitsipas may be new to Laver Cup, but he has had quite some success on indoor hard courts in his young career with two of the three ATP Tour titles he has won so far coming on that surface: In Stockholm last autumn and Marseille in February. On the other hand, Tsitsipas comes into Laver Cup on a four-match losing streak dating back to defeat to Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals of Washington, D.C. in July, and is clearly not at his most confident – and perhaps might not be at his most comfortable in this kind of team atmosphere.

World no. 30 Fritz made his first ATP Tour final on indoor hard courts in Memphis all the way back in 2016 but hasn’t played too much on the surface at ATP Tour level since then. It’s been a good year for the American, however, who won his first title in Eastbourne and also made finals in Atlanta and Los Cabos in July. Can he bring that form to this new format? He should feel less pressure than Tsitsipas and they have never played before. It’s another match in which I could see Team World springing a surprise.

Match 4: Roger Federer/Alexander Zverev (Europe) vs Denis Shapovalov/Jack Sock (World), to follow

Given that Federer and Zverev both reached the final of the Hopman Cup in January, one might think this was quite a good pairing – and certainly a canny move by captain Bjorn Borg to put Zverev in for doubles on day one alongside Federer to try to build his confidence ahead of singles on day two.

Zverev was rather carried through many of those Hopman Cup matches by Angelique Kerber, and although he has played a fair amount of doubles in 2019, he is only 7-8 – with four of those seven wins coming in Acapulco in the spring when he won the title with brother Mischa.

Federer is 1-2 in Laver Cup doubles, and he and Zverev were beaten in a tight encounter by Isner and Sock on day 3 in Chicago last year – but while Sock is a very, very good doubles player, with a 5-1 record in Laver Cup doubles and 14 career doubles titles to his name including three Grand Slams, he has also been out for six months in 2019 with a thumb injury and is 8-5 in doubles in 2019. Shapovalov is 12-9 in doubles in 2019, but usually plays with a doubles specialist in Rohan Bopanna. This feels like it might be an opportunity for Team Europe to flip the script and win the opening day doubles for the first time in Laver Cup’s three-year history.


Day one of the 2019 Laver Cup is live from Geneva on Friday 20 September from 1pm local/12pm BST

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Laver Cup 2019 day 1 live streaming, preview and predictions – Thiem, Fognini and Tsitsipas lead defending champions Europe while Federer and Zverev team up for doubles

Laver Cup 2019 day 1 live streaming, preview and predictions for Friday 20 September: Dominic Thiem vs Denis Shapovalov, Fabio Fognini vs Jack Sock, Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Taylor Fritz, Roger Federer/Alexander Zverev vs Shapovalov/Sock

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