Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Denis Shapovalov is the first Canadian player to book is spot in the fourth round at the 2020 US Open. He got the better of American Taylor Fritz in a thrilling five-set match.
These two young players had previously faced each other twice on the professional tour, but this was the first time in a Grand Slam. Going into the match, Shapovalov had never lost to Fritz.
In the opening set, Shapovalov experienced difficulties in trying to return his opponent’s serve, unable to create any break point opportunities for himself. Midway through the set, it was the American who managed to take the lead. One break was all that Fritz needed to take the opening set, notably outpacing Shapovalov in aces and winners.
Both players continued their solid play into the second, playing some entertaining tennis. Towards the midway point, Shapovalov finally got the chance he needed, as Fritz committed a few errors allowing the Canadian to break for the first time in the match. Despite going down 0-40 in his attempt to serve out the set, Shapovalov dug deep and played some exciting points to erase the deficit and take the second.
There appeared to be a momentum swing after the second set, as Shapovalov seemed to have gained more confidence and energy. The 21-year-old Canadian managed to break his opponent in the very first game of the third, but was unable to hang on to the lead. With Fritz serving for the set, Shapovalov fought off a few set points, but was ultimately broken and conceded the the set.
The Canadian’s serving inconsistencies continued into the fourth set, which allowed Fritz to go up an early break. But the young Canadian showed resolve and was able to remain competitive as he put up a valiant fight to bring the set to a tiebreak where he fired a few key aces to force a fifth and final set.
Coming back from the brink of elimination, Shapovalov found himself playing with renewed confidence and aggression. He took the early break and converted on another late break to book his spot in the fourth round with style. He needed just under four hours to defeat Fritz by a score of 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.
“A big shoutout to Taylor, he played incredible today and he also deserved to win. I feel like I got a bit lucky in a few points and was able to stay in that fourth set, which helped for sure. In the fifth, I tried to pick up my intensity and my level and I’m very excited to be back in the fourth round in New York,” stated the champion.
This was only the seventh five-set match of the young Shapovalov’s career. Three of the previous occasions have come at the US Open, including his loss in the third round last year to Gael Monfils.
In his next match, he will face David Goffin of Belgium. The two have met only once before, where the Canadian fell in a close match last year in Tokyo.
Shapovalov is not done for the day, however, as he is set to get back on court later today to play in his doubles match, which began yesterday but was delayed due to the weather.