SHAPO­VALOV SERVES A STUN­NER

Cana­dian teen up­sets top seed Nadal

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MONTREAL

CANA­DIAN teenager De­nis Shapo­valov shocked top seeded Rafael Nadal to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals of the ATP Montreal Mas­ters tour­na­ment, spoil­ing the Spa­niard’s chances of re­turn­ing to world num­ber one.

The 18-year-old Shapo­valov, who needed a wild card to get into the tour­na­ment, con­tin­ued his gi­ant killing form at the hard­court tour­na­ment by ral­ly­ing to beat Nadal in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Thurs­day.

Nadal would have re­turned to No 1 in the world if he had de­feated Shapo­valov Thurs­day, and then Chung Hyeon or Adrian Man­nar­ino yes­ter­day.

Shapo­valov’s stun­ning up­set against the reign­ing French Open cham­pion came as a re­sult of some in­spired ten­nis in front of a bois­ter­ous home crowd who cheered his ev­ery shot.

Shapo­valov had just three wins this sea­son com­ing into the tour­na­ment.

He quickly got on a roll in Montreal beat­ing Brazil’s Roge­rio Du­tra Silva in the open­ing round 46, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4. He de­feated for­mer US Open win­ner Juan Martin Del Potro in the sec­ond round in straight sets 6-3 7-6 (7/4) to set up the show­down with Nadal.

Shapo­valov won seven of the fi­nal eight points of the third set tiebreaker be­fore closing out the match with a fore­hand win­ner down the line.

He cel­e­brated by fall­ing onto his back then cov­er­ing his face with his hands.

Else­where on Thurs­day, Roger Federer main­tained his ca­reer­long win­ning streak over David Fer­rer to ad­vance to the quar­ter­fi­nals af­ter a three-set bat­tle with the vet­eran Spa­niard.

Federer, 36, had never lost in 16 pre­vi­ous meet­ings with the 35year-old Fer­rer, whom he first de­feated 14 years ago at the Vi­enna In­door tour­na­ment.

But while Fer­rer man­aged to take the open­ing set — end­ing Federer’s 32-set streak — the Swiss ace raised his game to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

A strangely er­ror-prone Federer was un­able to gen­er­ate his usual flu­ency early on, and quickly found him­self giv­ing away early breaks to trail 4-1 in the first set.

Nowhere was Federer’s way­ward per­for­mance bet­ter il­lus­trated than in the sev­enth game, when he squan­dered three break points at 0-40 to al­low Fer­rer to take a 5-2 lead.

Federer held for 5-3 and looked to have clawed his way back into the set with a break of Fer­rer’s serve in the next game to make it 5-4.

But Federer was strug­gling again as he served to level the set, find­ing him­self a set point down. He saved the first with an ace but Fer­rer made no mis­take with his sec­ond set point, con­vert­ing to take the opener 6-4.

Federer re­sponded quickly in the sec­ond set, go­ing a break up to lead 3-2 be­fore hold­ing for a 42 lead.

With Federer slowly im­prov­ing is first serve, Fer­rer was un­able to carve out the break op­por­tu­ni­ties he had found in the first set.

The set went with serve as Federer lev­eled.

An early break in the de­cider put him in con­trol as a weary Fer­rer be­gan to tire.

Some vin­tage play at the net helped put Federer 4-2 up with Fer­rer seem­ingly un­able to sum­mon a re­sponse.

The de­ci­sive break came in the sev­enth game, with Fer­rer net­ting a fore­hand re­turn to leave Federer 5-2 up and serv­ing for the match.

Federer promptly went in for the kill, at­tack­ing the net and open­ing up the court to clinch vic­tory with a deft vol­ley.

Federer will now play an­other Spa­niard, Roberto Bautista Agut, in the quar­ter-fi­nals. Bautista Agut de­feated France’s Gael Mon­fils in a gru­elling slugfest, win­ning 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 76 (7/2).

AFP PIC

De­nis Shapo­valov falls to the ground af­ter de­feat­ing Rafael Nadal in the Montreal Mas­ters on Thurs­day.

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