Novak Djokovic and Frances Tiafoe will face off in the third singles match of the second day of the Laver Cup. Unlike the previous four editions, Team World is looking good to challenge Team Europe for the title as there is nothing between them after the first six encounters.
Novak and Frances fight for the extra two points for the second time. Their only duel came at last year’s Australian Open, and Djokovic emerged victorious. After an entertaining fight in three and a half hours, the Serb prevailed in the second round 6:3, 6:7, 7:6, 6:3.
It was Novak’s 77th win at the Australian Open and he shot 26 aces to get there. Djokovic lost serve twice and delivered five returns to avoid a decider under the scorching Melbourne sun. Both players had more winners than unforced errors in a high-quality clash, and Novak found extra gear when he needed it to move to the front and stay on the title course.
Frances stayed in touch with the world’s leading player in midfield from five to eight shots. Despite this, he lost ground in the shortest and longest to hit the exit door despite a valiant effort.
Djokovic got off to a strong start, earning a break in game two and repelling two break chances in the next game to take a 3-0 lead. Frances held at love in the seventh game after Novak’s backhand error.
The Serb stayed calm and nabbed another return game minutes later with a forehand crosscourt winner. Djokovic sealed the opener with a backhand down the line, winner in game nine 6-3 after 33 minutes.
Novak Djokovic defeated Frances Tiafoe at the 2021 Australian Open.
The American went from 40-0 to 1-1 in set number two with some brave shots to keep serve intact and not chase the result.
Both served well until the tiebreak as the younger player followed the pace of an eight-time winner. Frances opened a 6-3 lead with a perfect drop shot, forcing Novak’s error in the tenth point right after the return to level the total after 96 minutes.
The third set was even longer, pushing each other to the limit for another tiebreak. Djokovic opened up a 3-0 lead and squandered more break chances in game four, shifting the momentum to Tiafoe’s side. The American broke back in game five after the Serb’s forehand error and served to stay in the set 4-5.
Facing two set points, Frances landed two powerful serves to break out of jail and seal the result at 5-5 ahead of another tie break. With no room for error, Novak went 7-2 thanks to a forehand winner, opening two sets to a lead after two hours and 44 minutes and winning a boost.
Tiafoe stayed in touch in the opening stages of the fourth set before Djokovic broke with a backhand down the line. The Serb created another break at 5-3 when the American made a double fault to seal the deal and advance to the next round after a grueling encounter.