Shapovalov downs Del Potro, Federer cruises past Canada’s Polansky at Rogers Cup
Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov downed former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro on a gusty Wednesday at the men’s Rogers Cup.
The 18-year-old Shapovalov took the second-round match 6-3, 7-6 (4).
It set up a possible thirdround meeting with top-seeded Rafael Nadal, who played Borna Coric late Wednesday.
Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the round of 16 of a Master Series tournament since Nadal in 2004 at Miami.
It likely had mostly to do with Roger Federer playing earlier in the day, but the centre court stands were packed, which is unusual for a weekday afternoon. They threw full support behind the left-handed Shapovalov, who caused a stir at last year’s Rogers Cup by ousting Aussie star Nick Kyrgios.
Shapovalov forced an early service break en route to a quick first set, but the Argentine veteran battled back with a break early in the second. Shapovalov kept his cool and the crowd exploded in sound when he forced a tiebreaker and finished it off in the second set.
Second-seeded Federer made short work of Toronto’s Peter Polansky, winning 6-2, 6-1 in 53 minutes.
Federer, a two-time Rogers Cup champion ranked third in the world by ATP, has had a surprise resurgence this season by posting his 18th and 19th career grand slam wins at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
It was his first match of the hard court season that leads up to the U.S. Open.
“I think this tournament I’m trying to play with confidence that I gained through the grass court season,” said Federer. “I have to adjust my game a little bit just because the bounce of the ball is so much higher here than at Wimbledon, and there’s wind, which in Wimbledon we didn’t have much of.
“It’s just really to see how it goes this week, and then learn from this week, how I need to then play in Cincinnati (next week) and the U.S. Open.”
The Swiss ace turned 36 on Tuesday and celebrated by taking in a Coldplay concert at the Bell Centre.
Then he got a warm welcome from the Uniprix Stadium crowd in his first Canadian Open match since losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2014 final in Toronto.
“The crowd support was great,” said Federer. “It wasn’t the closest match today, but they were there for Peter when he needed the crowd and he hit good shots.
“I thought that was really nice. And for me, they were there every step of the way. At the Coldplay concert, just to see how is the Montreal crowd again, they were unbelievably loud. That’s also something I took away from the concert — besides how good Chris Martin and the band was — is how unreal the stadium is, the Bell Centre.”
Federer will next face the winner of a match between American Jack Sock and Spain’s David Ferrer.
Polansky, ranked No. 116 in the world after some strong results in Challenger events, upset No. 75 Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver in the first round on Monday.
It was his second meeting with Federer. At the 2014 Rogers Cup, he lost 6-2, 6-0.