De Minaur strikes back for the World Cup | New


Alex de Minaur gave Team World their first Laver Cup London point by beating Andy Murray in a night session like few others in the history of the event.

Alex de Minaur gave Team World their first Laver Cup London point by beating Andy Murray in a night session like few others in the history of the event.

De Minaur beat the former No.1 5-7 6-3 10-7 after Team World fell in the opening two matches on Friday afternoon.

“We had a few unfortunate games,” said de Minaur. “I always knew my game was going to be important to try and get a point and get us on the right track.

“Everyone in this team is going to drop everything and that’s the most important thing.”

In the duo’s only other meeting in Zhuhai three years ago, the Aussie clinched a three-set victory in three hours.

Their battle at the O2 began with a first set of one hour and 16 minutes.

Extended rallies were featured throughout, with an exchange in the opening set going down in Laver Cup history.

Such was de Minaur’s attacking intent that Murray was forced to offer numerous defensive lobs.

Murray – whose last O2 appearance saw the Scot beat Novak Djokovic in 2016 to clinch the year-end No.1 ranking – usually tops the charts when playing on home soil.

This time, however, his fight with the exciting Minaur turned out to be the appetizer before Roger Federer’s final pro game.

“It’s surreal, just playing a game with everything going on,” Murray said, before citing several legendary names who watched, including the two captains. “Having Bjorn Borg on the side of the field, John McEnroe. Stefan Edberg was in the audience, all the teams too, having them to support you, to talk during the games too, it was incredible. One of the most special matches I’ve played.

As if anyone needed a reminder, de Minaur opened up about his fondness for team competitions on Thursday. He has won five straight Davis Cup fights and can add the Laver Cup to the list of tag team victories by beating his fellow rookie in competition.

For the third game in a row on Friday, a team broke for a 2-0 lead, but this time it wasn’t the European team.

There were laughs when chair umpire Aurélie Tourte had to tell Murray that one of his shoelaces – which held his wedding ring – was untied.

He tied the shoelaces and started to build momentum and tie the score 3-3.

A double fault from Minaur gave Murray a break chance at 4-3 – only for his opponent to rip three straight aces.

“Let’s go Andy, let’s go” shouted Murray, although de Minaur held on to his lead when, in the 12e match, he earned the first five points of the game before Murray capitalized on his second set point via a double fault.

If Murray struck a psychological blow by claiming such a grueling set, de Minaur — 13 years his junior — appeared fresher in the second. A break for 2-1 confirmed his early superiority.

Murray hung on, although he thwarted two break points at 3-4.

The European team had won six of the last seven Laver Breakers – including when Casper Ruud edged out Jack Sock to start play on Friday – so the odds could have turned in Murray’s favour.

De Minaur, however, never trailed.

A tense conclusion saw Murray draw 7-8, only to see his second-serve return go astray for long.

A fine first serve from Minaur sealed a meaningful victory for Team World – which has lost all four previous Laver Cups. De Minaur’s victory was only the second time in Laver Cup history that Team World had won a singles match on matchday one.

“Probably the kind of nerves and just the feeling of having your back against the wall, it wasn’t easy at all,” de Minaur said. “We are in a battle so it was a big win for me for sure.”

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