Dominic Thiem had the honor to grab the first victory at the third edition of the Laver Cup in Geneva, saving three match points in a 6-4, 5-7, 13-11 triumph after an hour and 46 minutes. The Austrian won their previous two matches and had to work hard to deliver the third one, coming from 9-7 down in the match tie break to push Team Europe in front.
Only two points separated the rivals on the court, with two breaks on each side in the opening two sets and mighty close decider that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. The first break came in the third game of the clash when Shapovalov sent a backhand long, wasting more break chances in games five and seven but keeping the advantage, delivering three winners in the tenth game to grab the opener 6-4.
Shapovalov bounced back in the fourth game of the second set when Thiem sprayed a backhand error, staying in front only for a couple of minutes and allowing the opponent to break back in the next game with a beautiful lob winner that stayed out of the youngster's reach.
Six commanding holds later, Dominic got broken at love while serving to stay in the set, sending Denis 7-5 up and extending the battle into the match tie break. There, they stayed neck and neck despite many errors on both sides before Shapovalov claimed four straight points to move 9-7 in front with a backhand down the line winner.
Thiem stayed calm to fend off both match points, wasting one of his own at 10-9 and saving another one with a powerful forehand at 10-11, claiming three consecutive points and moving over the top when Denis netted a forehand in the 24th point.
World no. 210 Jack Sack had failed to win a match this season before the Laver Cup, making a slow return after an injury and falling through the rankings. Today, the American played on a solid level to topple Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-6 in their first encounter since Stockholm 2017, repelling all six break chances and earning two breaks in the opening set before a more entertaining fight in set number two that also went to his side.
The Italian struggled to find the rhythm (or movement) in the opening set, netting a forehand in game four to give serve away, wasting four chances on the return in the next game and suffering another break in game six after a terrible volley to sent Jack 5-1 up.
Jack repelled two break points in the next game, bringing the opener home with a service winner and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the match. They both served well in the second set, with Fabio erasing a break chance at 5-5 to set up a tie break that Sock claimed 7-3 with a service winner for a massive win and the first point for Team World ahead of the evening session.