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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Nadal happy after Team Europe take lead over Team World Cup at Laver Cup

Berdych and world No 1 beaten in doubles on Day 1, but teammates Cilic, Thiem and Zverev got them off to a good start.

Rafael Nadal, right, and Tomas Berdych were beaten in the closing doubles. David W Cerny / Reuters
Rafael Nadal, right, and Tomas Berdych were beaten in the closing doubles. David W Cerny / Reuters

Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev won their opening singles to put Team Europe ahead of Team World after Day 1 of the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague on Friday.

Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock then handed Team World their first point by beating Tomas Berdych and world No 1 Rafael Nadal in the day's closing doubles rubber to round off the score at 3-1 for Europe.

"I'm happy the way the day went, we had a couple of wins that were super close and we could lose," Roland Garros and US Open champion Nadal said.

"We have a good result for our team. Happy to go to back to bed with 3-1 and tomorrow is another day."

With four matches a day - three singles and a doubles, the players can earn a point for each win on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were on the same side for a change. David W Cerny / Reuters
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were on the same side for a change. David W Cerny / Reuters

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World No 5 Cilic beat 72nd-ranked Frances Tiafoe, a replacement for the injured Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, 7-6, 7-6 in the tournament opener.

The big-serving Croat and the 19-year-old American held on to their serves in the first set before earning a break apiece in the second, with Cilic showing better nerves in both tie-breakers.

Seventh-ranked Austrian Thiem then put Europe 2-0 ahead, beating world No 17 John Isner 6-7, 7-6, 10-8.

Shot of the day

Isner offered his regular dose of aces as both held on to their serves throughout the rubber, taking it to the 10-point super tie-break used to decide games tied after two sets.

Isner went 4-0 up in the super tie-break, but the patient Austrian came back to win the rubber.

In a clash of the teams' youngest players, the 20-year-old world No 4, Zverev, overpowered 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6, 7-6 in another rubber without breaks.

In the doubles, Berdych lost his serve halfway through the first set as off-court friends Kyrgios and Sock seemed far more comfortable on the black court of Prague's O2 Arena.

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Berdych and Nadal regained some momentum in the second set, but the Team World duo grabbed the super tie-break.

Leading Team Europe, Bjorn Borg decided to rest world No 2 Roger Federer on Friday while John McEnroe decided not to use his highest-ranked player, 16th-ranked Sam Querrey.

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