I don’t think anyone expected Team World to go into Day 3 of Laver Cup play with a stomping 10-2 lead with Team Europe winning just one of the eight matches currently played. With the defending champions ahead by the margin they are, despite there being four matches on the final day of this year’s Laver Cup in Vancouver, just a single Team World win would see them retain their title.
ATP Laver Cup Day 3 Predictions
Hubert Hurkacz and Andrey Rublev vs Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe
The first match today is a doubles match and one that Europe are no doubt the favourites in. Whilst Shelton and Tiafoe both have big serves with the older of the two also having a more than solid net game, both haven’t excelled on the doubles court due to not being the best of returners. The same can be said about Hurkacz but alongside his great serve there’s no arguing the Pole is one of the best volleyers on tour. Rublev is no doubt the best all round player on the court here and his ability to get enough returns back into play will be the difference of whether Europe can extend the tie. With both Hurkacz and Rublev having won Masters 1000 titles in doubles in their careers and being a better all-round pairing here, they have the edge.
Prediction: Hurkcacz and Rublev in 2
Casper Ruud vs Taylor Fritz
Head-to-head: Ruud 1-0
Assuming Team Europe win the opening doubles match, we’ll get singles matches, the first of those being between two Top 10 players in Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz. The pair have surprisingly only met once in their careers so far where the Norweigen barely escaped winning 8-6 in a final set tiebreak in Turin last year. To say the least, Ruud has had an absolutely horrible year, especially on the hardcourts for the high standards he set himself after 2022 whilst the American is coming off a good win yesterday against another top 10 player, Andrey Rublev as well as a US Open quarter-final a few weeks ago. This is going to be a struggle for Team Europe and unless the Ruud we saw for most of last year shows up, it would be surprising if the tie continues after this match. Saying that, the 24 year old’s best match on the hard courts was yesterday against Tommy Paul, so perhaps here’s something to build off to make this competitive.
Prediction: Fritz in 3
Andrey Rublev vs Frances Tiafoe
Head-to-head: Tiafoe 2-1
If my last prediction is wrong and Team Europe win both the first two matches, both Andrey Rublev and Frances Tiafoe will return onto court after their earlier doubles match and this time face each other in singles. Tiafoe revels in crowd support and he’ll no doubt get it once again today but to say the very least, the American has struggled in singles the past few months despite his US Open quarterfinal showing which was arguably down to a weak draw more than his performances. The Russian wasn’t good against Fritz here but it’s also hard to see him not upping his game to the level we expect. As long as Rublev can dictate with his forehand and not let the American get the upper hand, he should get the win here.
Prediction: Rublev in 2
Hubert Hurkacz vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Head-to-head: Auger-Aliassime 2-1
If Team Europe miraculously win the doubles and then the first two singles matches that follow it, we’ll enter a situation where the winner of the final match decides the 2023 Laver Cup! It’s almost impossible to call too, bar an event here and there both men have struggled massively in 2023, especially the Canadian with just four official ATP wins in the last six months including one on Friday against Gael Monfils. On paper, the Pole will be the favourite but with the Canadian crowd behind the youngster it could be a sign of the now 23-year-old showing us glimpses of his 2022 indoor form where for the most part he was near unbeatable. Expect a very serve dominated match with chances rare on each side of the court, it’s going to simply come down to who can hold their nerve and take their chances.
Prediction: Hurkacz in 3
Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports