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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Denis Shapovalov battles back as young stars shine at Montreal Masters

Denis Shapovalov saved four match points to beat Rogerio Dutra Silva in Montreal Masters on Tuesday.

tennis Updated: Aug 09, 2017 09:26 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Monteal
Denis Shapovalov of Canada hits a return against Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil in Montreal.
Denis Shapovalov of Canada hits a return against Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil in Montreal.(AFP)
         

Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov saved four match points en route to a three-set victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva on Tuesday in the first round of the ATP Montreal Masters.

The 18-year-old trailed 4-6 in the second-set tiebreaker but saved all four match points he faced to force a third set.

“I don’t remember all of them. Honestly, it’s a little bit of a blur,” Shapovalov said.

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“I remember one of them, he passed me. I hit a pretty tough volley. It was a pretty long point there. On one of them, I remember I was pretty far back. I went for a backhand down the line, which was pretty good. I wasn’t holding back.

“I just told myself, he’s got to win it from me, I’m not going to give it to him. I think I did a good job to stay tough out there.”

Shapovalov broke Brazil’s Dutra Silva in the seventh game of the third and went on to close out a 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 victory.

“It’s matches like this I live for and that I play for,” said Shapovalov, who earned a second-round meeting with former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

With old-guard stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer taking a day off -- 19-time Grand Slam champion Federer to celebrate his 36th birthday -- Shapovalov was one of a wealth of young talents to shine on Tuesday.

South Korean 21-year-old Chung Hyeon withstood 16 aces to beat 2014 semi-finalist Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3).

After the third set went to the tiebreaker without a break of serve, the 56th-ranked Chung built a 4-2 advantage and went on to secure the victory in two hours and 16 minutes.

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He next faces ninth-seeded Belgian David Goffin, a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 winner over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.

Croatian 20-year-old Borna Coric breezed past Russian lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with top-seeded Nadal.

Coric has won two of three prior encounters with the Spanish great, who won a 10th French Open title this year and can regain the world number one ranking with a run to the semi-finals this week.

American Ernesto Escobedo, 21 years old and ranked 85th in the world, got his chance as a lucky loser when 10th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych withdrew with a rib injury.

Escobedo stepped in and defeated Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

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‘Rib dysfunction’

Berdych, a semi-finalist at Los Cabos in Mexico last week, tweeted his regret at having to withdraw.

“I am sorry I have to apologize (to) all my Montreal fans,” tweeted Berdych, who had played in 12 straight Canadian Masters. “I couldn’t play, because of my rib disfunction I need to get well to go to office soon!!”

Third-seeded Dominic Thiem highlighted the evening action on Court Central, the 23-year-old Austrian taking on Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman for a place in the third round.

Thiem, ranked seventh in the world, lifted a title in Rio de Janeiro this year and reached clay court finals in Barcelona and Madrid -- losing to Nadal in both.

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In other first-round action, American Sam Querrey defeated Vincent Millot for the second time in as many weeks, peppering the French qualifier with 18 aces in a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win. Querrey beat Millot in the quarter-finals at Los Cabos en route to his 10th ATP title.

American Jack Sock, seeded 15th, also advanced, downing France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

First Published: Aug 09, 2017 09:18 IST

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