As a member of Team Europe alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal participated in the first Laver Cup in Prague in 2017. After losing the doubles match on day one, Rafa and Tomas Berdych played again the following day against Jack Sock. After helping the blue team win its fifth match of the game, the Spaniard pushed Team Europe up 7-1.
Rafa prevailed over Jack 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 in an hour and 38 minutes for his first Laver Cup triumph! Nadal wasted an 8-5 lead in the match tie break before prevailing in a thriller. It was not the match of the highest quality and probably the worst of the tournament by that point.
Sock struggled on the second serve and won just seven out of 25 points. He got broken three times and earned three return games to stay competitive until the match tie break. Rafa grabbed a break in the opener’s fourth game when Jack netted a routine backhand.
Rafael Nadal prevailed over Jack Sock in Prague 2017.
The Spaniard placed a backhand wide in the next one to experience a break at love and keep the rival on the positive side. The American sprayed another backhand mistake in game six to lose serve for the second straight time and fall 4-2 behind.
Nadal fended off a break point in game seven with a forehand crosscourt winner and landed an ace down the T line in game nine for 6-3 in 38 minutes. Rafa fired another ace for a hold at love in the second set’s second game and grabbed a break in the next one to move closer to the finish line.
Instead of building on that, Nadal experienced a break in game four after a loose forehand. The American saved a break point in game five with a service winner and held with a perfect drop shot winner. Sock created break chances in game six with a forehand winner and seized the third after Nadal’s backhand error for a 4-2 advantage.
Rafa extended the set with a hold at love in game eight before Jack landed an ace in the next one to wrap up the set 6-3 and force a decider. Nadal opened a 5-1 advantage with three mini-breaks on his tally. Sock reduced the deficit to 8-6 with a forehand down the line winner and climbed back to 8-8 after the rival’s volley mistake.
The American saved a match point at 8-9 with a forehand winner before the Spaniard claimed a great rally for 10-9. Rafa sealed the deal with a forehand winner in the 20th point to celebrate his first Laver Cup victory.