Denis Shapovalov is through to the semi-finals of the Winston-Salem Open following a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Russia’s Andrey Rublev (No. 47). The Canadian will now face the winner of this afternoon’s other quarter-final between third seed Hubert Hurkacz (No. 41) of Poland and tenth seed Frances Tiafoe (No. 52) of the United States.
Heading into the match, Shapovalov (No. 38) and Rublev shared a 1-1 head-to-head record with the Canadian having won the most recent meeting 6-3, 7-6(5) on his way to a semi-final appearance at the Miami Open.
The 20-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ontario started this match in similar fashion, going up an early break and taking a 4-1 lead. And he made no mistake in seeing out the opening set as he held serve to take it 6-3, hitting a powerful forehand on his second set point which Rublev could only parry into the stands.
Come on! 👊
He will face Tiafoe or Hurkacz later tonight. pic.twitter.com/sMdPivkbxc
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) August 23, 2019
The Russian was struggling to show the sort of form that saw him overcome three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka (No. 24) and 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer (No. 3) on his way to a quarter-finals appearance against compatriot and eventual champion Daniil Medvedev at the Cincinnati Open.
His lack of rhythm continued to work in Shapovalov’s favour early in the second set as the Canadian pounced on a poor service game from the 21 year old to go a break up. But the Russian soon regrouped and fought back to level at 2-2 with Shapovalov uncharacteristically shaky on his own serve.
The set would eventually go to a tiebreak, which the 20-year-old Canadian began with a vital mini break. From that point on, Shapovalov kept his nerve to claim the victory as Rublev hit the deciding shot long on match point.
(Feature photo: Pascal Ratthe)