Swiss tennis great Roger Federer ranked No. 2 in the world, defeated Australia's Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 7-6(6) and "match tie-break" (11-9) to take home the first-ever Laver Cup, named in honour of the legendary Rod Laver. Federer and Kyrgios played to a "heart-attack finish" in the O2 Arena before 17,000 fans on Sunday.
Kyrgios was very focused during the match and managed to break Federer's service in the fifth game, which he effusively celebrated, almost as much as if he had won the set.
The 22-year-old Canberra native, who is in his fifth season as a pro but whose career has been marked by assorted injuries, put everything he had into the match-up against his Swiss rival.
The eighth game of the set taken by the Australian was the one that sparked the most emotion among the crowd with long and precise volleys and alternating sudden attacks and great defensive shots.
Kyrgios put his broad repertoire of shots on display, including acrobatic blasts and two-handed return shows, while Federer tried to execute his game with Swiss precision deep on his side of the court.
Finally, Federer was able to break Kyrgios' service, in the fourth game of the second set, but the Australian recovered soon thereafter.
Kyrgios asked to be attended to by a physical therapist after managing to even the set 3-3.
The tie was maintained through the second set until the final game was decided in an adjusted tie-break in favour of Federer.
That forced the sixth "match tie-break" of the tournament, and it went Federer's way.
The three-day competition at Prague's O2 Arena pitted a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. Along with Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych made up the European team while Kyrgios, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe played for the world.
The Laver Cup, named after the Australian tennis icon and to be hosted by Chicago in 2018, features a unique format in which three singles and one doubles match are played on each of the tourney's three days and the points received per match victory increase every day.
The first team to reach 13 points won the inaugural Laver Cup.
(With IANS Inputs)