Laver Cup Flashback: How it all started?

Laver Cup Flashback: How it all started?
© Julian Finney / Staff – Getty Images Sport

The inaugural Laver Cup took place in September 2017 in Prague, honoring the tennis legend and gathering a strong field of players. The first clash between Team Europe and Team World happened on September 22, with Marin Cilic delivering the first point for the blue squad.

Cilic toppled Frances Tiafoe 7-6, 7-6 in an hour and 50 minutes at O2 Arena, prevailing in a tight contest and sending his team in front. Marin stayed focused in both tie breaks, securing a place in history as the first winner of the Laver Cup match.

The Croat served at 73%, blasting 17 aces and throwing everything at his young opponent. Tiafoe claimed only 15 return points, delivering one break and defending three out of four break chances to remain competitive despite dropping 35% of the points in his games.

The young American led 4-1 in the second set before the Croat pulled the break back and emerged at the top in straight sets.

Marin Cilic and Frances Tiafoe battled in the first Laver Cup match in 2017.

Both players found the range behind the initial shot right from the start, embracing six comfortable holds and locking the result at 3-3.

The returners found some pace in seven and eight, with both rivals missing a break chance to stay neck and neck. They had nothing to work with in the remaining four games, taking one point and introducing a tie break. The more experienced player kept his focus, delivering four mini-breaks and clinching the breaker 7-3.

Tiafoe stayed competitive, denying two break chances in the second set’s third game and gaining a boost. Frances broke Marin in the fourth game, erasing the rival’s two game points and forging a 3-1 advantage. Tiafoe held after deuce in game five to extend the gap, looking good to force the match tie break.

Instead, Cilic raised his level, serving well and pulling the break back. Marin lost one point on serve in the final four games, breaking back at 2-4 and returning to the positive side. They served well in the rest of the set, making the second tie break inevitable.

Instead of more drama, Cilic claimed all seven points to emerge at the top. The Croat landed a backhand down the line winner for 3-0 and claimed the next point with a mighty forehand. Another backhand down the line winner offered Marin six match points, and he seized the first with an ace to emerge at the top in style.

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