Shapo­valov bat­tles back as young stars shine in Mon­treal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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 18year-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. “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 sec­on­dround 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-19time Grand Slam cham­pion Fed­erer to cel­e­brate his 36th birth­day-Shapo­valov was one of a wealth of young tal­ents to shine on Tues­day. South Korean 21year-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. He next faces ninth-seeded Bel­gian David Gof­fin, a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win­ner over Ja­pan’s Yuichi Sugita. Croa­t­ian 20-yearold 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 semi­fi­nals this week.

Amer­i­can Ernesto Es­cobedo, 21 years old and ranked 85th in the world, got his chance as a lucky loser when 10thseeded Czech To­mas Berdych with­drew with a rib in­jury. Es­cobedo stepped in and de­feated Ge­or­gia’s Nikoloz Basi­lashvili 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.


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. 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 Pier­reHugues Her­bert 7-6 (7/4), 6-3. —AFP

MON­TREAL: De­nis Shapo­valov of Canada re­turns to Roge­rio Du­tra Silva of Brazil dur­ing the first round of the Rogers Cup ten­nis tour­na­ment, Tues­day in Mon­treal. — AP

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