It was deemed one of the greatest shocks in Rogers Cup history – World No. 143 #NextGenATP wild card Denis Shapovalov defeating top seed Rafael Nadal in the third round in 2017. Twelve months on, the pressure to back up that semi-final run is on and after a 6-1, 6-4 routing of Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday, the now World No. 26 already looks up to it.
“Whenever I'm at home, I just seem to loosen up with the crowd,” Shapovalov said. “And I just enjoyed myself out there today. It was really fun to be on that centre court with so many people watching.
"It was one of those matches where everything was kind of feeling good for me. So it's a really good feeling and hopefully it continues.”
At one stage, the 19-year-old took 10 consecutive points in the opening set of the first-round clash, and despite missing a set point on Chardy’s serve for a bagel set, Shapovalov secured it in 26 minutes on a love hold. Chardy, who had fallen to the Canadian in their only prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in the first round at Wimbledon this year, had his chances at 3-4 to peg back the break of serve in the second set but struggled against the relentless aggression from across the net.
“I was serving really well today,” Shapovalov said. “I've been working a lot with my mom on my serve, so today it shows huge improvement on it.
“She does a really good job of being my mom off court and giving me my space and loving me. While on the court she's tough and she keeps me disciplined and she's my coach. She's not my mom on court.”
With his doubles partner and fellow #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime cheering him on, Shapovalov served out the contest at the 63-minute mark to set a second-round meeting with No. 14 seed Fabio Fognini. The Italian raced past American Steve Johnson, 6-4, 6-4.
Qualifier Evgeny Donskoy pulled off a 7-6(7), 6-4 first-round victory over his fellow Russian, #NextGen ATP player Andrey Rublev. The 28-year-old’s win sets a showdown with No. 4 seed Kevin Anderson.
Donskoy was one of two Russians through on Tuesday. Karen Khachanov powered to a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic to book a second-round clash with No. 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta. In an all-American match, qualifier Ryan Harrison posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory over lucky loser Mackenzie McDonald. Harrison advances to face Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka.
"It was a pretty tough match. It’s always hard to play against a friend," Donskoy said. "But I know that he was not in great shape after Washington. He was a little bit tired.
"He’s playing very well. He’s coming (back) from injury. I’m 100 per cent sure he’ll be better than he is now. I hope he will get better as much as possible. I’m cheering for him always. We’re supporting each other every time, so it’s sad to play each other. He’s a great guy." . read full article