Playing in his third final this month, and second in the ATP Challenger Tour in seven days, Denis Shapovalov finished runner-up to Mirza Basic, the Bosnian taking the title at Jalisco Open in Guadalajara, Mexico 6-4, 6-4 against the Canadian teen.
For the third straight match in Mexico, Shapovalov dropped the first set. Unlike the two previous occasions when he quickly recovered in the second, Shapovalov was unable to storm back to win the contest on Sunday. The loss ended his nine match Challenger winning streak.
— Jalisco Open (@JaliscOpen) March 26, 2017
Shapovalov fended off the first two break points he faced against Basic in the opening set, but third time was a charm for the Bosnian when his Canadian counterpart crashed a volley into the net. That breathing room was enough for Basic to take the early lead despite struggling to deliver. Shapovalov had a look at four break points in the last game though couldn’t subdue Basic.
In the second set, the fifth and final break point opportunity of the match for Shapovalov went begging early. The hold at 2-2 was important for Basic as it folded any momentum for the 17-year-old Canadian. Shapovalov went on to drop a service game midway through the set, sending a backhand volley wide to give Basic a 4-3 lead on break. The 25-year-old Bosnian consolidated on serve and went on to win the match in straight sets.
Double faults (four of seven in the first set), missing the mark on returns, and being unable to take advantage of openings provided by Basic were ultimately Shapovalov’s undoing, despite firing 12 aces in the match.
This loss aside, March has been a fruitful month of Shapovalov, collecting two trophies from three finals, after outduelling opponents in Gatineau and Drummondville before winning four of five matches in Guadalajara.
The championship in Drummondville was his first in the Challenger Tour, becoming the youngest Canadian to win a title at that level. That helped Shapovalov break into the top 200 in ATP rankings. His overall performance in Mexico will ensure Shapovalov continues to climb up the table in world standings.
Feature photo via Jalisco Open