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Raonic sets Shapovalov showdown

May 08, 2018
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Game on!

It’ll be Canada vs. Canada on Thursday, as Milos Raonic downed No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday to set up a scintillating third-round matchup with Denis Shapovalov, who advanced earlier in the day with a win over Benoit Paire.

Raonic’s serve was on fire in the first set, dropping just three points behind it and striking six aces to earn the one-set advantage over Dimitrov. The Bulgarian, who was last season’s Nitto ATP Finals champion, struck back in set two, sealing a break of serve early on and holding on to even the match at a set apiece.

The final set was tightly contested, with Raonic facing early pressure from the World No. 5 on serve. Sure enough, he weathered the Bulgarian storm and upped the ante on his groundstrokes to earn a break in the eighth game thanks to an improvised return off a body serve from Dimitrov. With little fuss, Raonic served out the match to claim a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 victory in just under two hours.

Canadian No. 1 Raonic and Canadian No. 2 Shapovalov will play for the first time in the third round in an exciting, intergenerational clash of styles. Both serve big and have potent groundstrokes, but while the 27-year-old Raonic is cool and collected under pressure, his 19-year-old compatriot competes with fire and wears his heart on his sleeve.

Regardless of the winner, Canada will be guaranteed a player in the quarterfinals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid, and is guaranteed to have a blockbuster showdown between two of its finest.

May the best Canadian win!

(Feature photo: Realis)