Roger Federer put on an absolute masterclass to thump Aussie Nick Kyrgios at the Laver Cup in Chicago.
The Swiss maestro was barely ruffled as he cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kyrgios, showcasing his casual brilliance right on cue.
“I felt good from the beginning and that’s not usual,” Federer said.
“We need some matches to get going, but today I was very clear in my game plan and I got wonderful support from my team.”
Kyrgios, the high-spirited Australian, tends to reserve his best for the greats of the game.
He regularly loses to inferior players but is 1-3 against Federer.
And so the game between the two immensely talented players went again, just as it had three weeks ago at the US Open, as Kyrgios was left in awe of the shot selection employed by Federer.
It took just three games for Federer to break Kyrgios in the opening set, but he waited even less in the second, breaking him in his first service game of the second set with a masterful combination of play that kept the crowd in rapture.
That is not to take anything away from Kyrgios, however.
At times, he also was sharp, and sent blitzing passing shots past Federer but the glimpses of brilliance were far too few – including this winner after putting his body on the line:
At a crucial juncture in the second, with Kyrgios trying to save a break point at 1-3 with Federer holding an advantage, a line judge called his ace out.
The computer system Hawk-eye showed otherwise and the chair umpire ruled the point to be recontested.
That prompted vocal protests from Kyrgios, who branded the decision a “shit judgement”, while Team World captain John McEnroe tongue-in-cheek commented he hoped the umpire would “get a little present after the match”.
But by the end of the one-hour and 40-minute encounter, Federer simply proved a superior player.
He only found his rhythm more in the second set to win 22 more winners than Kyrgios and served out the match with an eighth ace.
Zverev and Federer power Europe to commanding lead
Earlier, Zverev saved a match point to defeat John Isner in day two’s opening singles rubber.
Zverev, 21, dug deep to hold off the big-serving Isner to win 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 10-7.
Under the format being used for the tournament, a 10-point tiebreak is used instead of a decisive third set.
After dominating Friday’s opening day, winning three out of the four matches, Europe’s progress looked to be checked after Isner grabbed the first set against Zverev.
But rising German star Zverev showed great determination in saving a match point at 6-5 down in the second-set tie-break to level the contest.
Zverev then raced into the lead in the 10-point match tie-break before closing out for the win, rallying to beat new dad Isner.
Under the scoring system for the Laver Cup, victories on day two are worth two points each, with victories on day three rising to three points.
Europe needs only 13 points to take the title, which is being held for the second time.