SHAPOVALOV JUST NEEDS ‘A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME’
Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal methodically wore down Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-1 Thursday to reach the Italian Open quarter-finals and gain revenge against the Canadian teenager. The 19-year-old Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., stunned Nadal in the third round at the Rogers Cup in Montreal last year to deny the Spanish player a chance to regain the No. 1 spot. Nadal is also attempting to win the top spot back this week. He’ll replace Roger Federer if he wins an eighth Rome title. In a match between two lefthanders,
Shapovalov saved eight break points in his opening two service games before finally dropping his serve midway through the first set. “He was really serving big and I had some mistakes with the return,” Nadal said. “He’s good in all aspects. The only thing he needs is a little bit more time.” Shapovalov was stretched to three sets in his opening two matches, against 15th-seeded Tomas Berdych and Robin Haase, and reached the semifinals of last week’s Madrid Open.