Novak Djokovic crushed Frances Tiafoe 6-2 6-3 at the Laver Cup at the O2 on Saturday night in his first match since winning Wimbledon this summer.
The former world No.1 was backed by Bjorn Borg as well as the rest of the famous Big Four: Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He was up against Frances Tiafoe, growing into his potential, for just the second time the pair had met.
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Djokovic played with power and precision that outstripped much – if not all – of what had come before in the recent two days.
Perhaps fresher than others due to his relatively limited activity as a result of his stance on Covid-19 vaccination, the Serbian raced into a 4-1 lead in the first set, and another break followed another intimidatingly good service game as he carried the first set 6-1 with ease.
In the second set, Djokovic broke immediately and then moved clear as the American struggled to upset the 35-year-old’s rhythm, but such was his dominance that he even had time to exchange a high five with Bjorg courtside.
At 5-3 in the second set, the pressure was on Tiafoe to serve to stay in the match, but he could resist Djokovic who broke to take victory.
Speaking after his victory, Djokovic reflected on a confident return after months away.
“I hadn’t played for two months, the last match was at Wimbledon in this city, down the road, so I’m really glad to continue the run, pretty decent match,” he begab,
“I was seeing the ball very well, no doubt about it. Hadn’t done many things wrong today, couldn’t be happier with the return to the tour, winning for the team after a long day yesterday, a very emotional day.
“It wasn’t easy to restart the engines and step out on the court and do what you do in the best possible way, so I’m just happy for the performance and glad I brought another two points to the team.”
The result moved Team Europe back in front on points, 6-4, after Taylor Fritz defeated Cameron Norrie earlier in the day.
Europe then went further clear when Djokovic returned to the court alongside Italian Matteo Berrettini, with Djokovic claiming before the match that he would use the opportunity to practise his Italian.
The first set was the toughest for the European duo as they battled 7-5 past America’s Jack Sock and Australia’s Alex de Minaur.
The second was easier, as Djokovic made it two wins from the day with a 6-2 win to settle the tie.
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