London, Sep 25 (IANS): Taylor Fritz delivered for Team World on Saturday at the Laver Cup, moving past Team Europe's Cameron Norrie 6-1, 4-6, 10-8 to level the competition at 4-4, here.
In the latest chapter of their rivalry, Fritz flew out of the blocks to storm ahead. The World No. 12 stepped inside the baseline to dictate the baseline exchanges, striking 11 winners in an impressive first-set performance. Norrie refused to go away, though, flattening out his forehand as he changed up the chess board to level.
However, Fritz would not be denied, edging a tight Match Tie-break to triumph after 89 minutes. Four of the six matches at the Laver Cup have gone to a deciding set at this year's event.
The American now leads Norrie 6-5 in their ATP head-to-head series, avenging his defeat against the Briton at last week's Davis Cup Finals. Fritz is making his second appearance at the three-day event, having gone 1-1 in 2019.
Serbian Novak Djokovic, who has not played since he won Wimbledon in July, will do double duty this evening for Team Europe. The 35-year-old will face American Frances Tiafoe in singles and then will team up with Matteo Berrettini in doubles.
Earlier, Berrettini fired Team Europe in front against Team World, edging Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(11), 4-6, 10-7.
In a hard-fought battle, the Italian caused damage with his aggressive forehand, while he hit his backhand slice with great depth to keep the Canadian at bay. The World No. 15 saved one break point in the first set, before raising his level on serve in the Match Tie-break to seal his victory after two hours and 15 minutes.
"It is always a great fight against Felix. We played for two hours and 15 minutes and he is a hell of a player. I had to play my best tennis in the [Match] Tie-break to win. I am really happy because I didn't win just for me but for the team," Berrettini said in his on-court interview.
Berrettini now leads Auger-Aliassime 4-1 in their ATP Head to Head series, having defeated the 22-year-old at the Laver Cup last year.
Captain Bjorn Borg is aiming to guide Team Europe to its fifth consecutive Laver Cup title against John McEnroe's Team World this week in the UK capital.
The sides ended the first day level after Jack Sock and Tiafoe clawed past Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Swiss star's final tour-level match on Friday night. Each victory on Saturday is worth two points.