Denis Shapovalov celebrates winning a point at the 2021 US Open

Photo: camerawork usa

Denis Shapovalov will join compatriots Leylah Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime in the second round of the US Open after sealing a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis in his opening match on Tuesday.

Heading into this match – the first of his career against Delbonis – Shapovalov was hoping to snap a three-match losing streak having been beaten in the first round of the Swiss Open, National Bank Open presented by Rogers and Western & Southern Open in Gstaad, Toronto and Cincinnati respectively in recent weeks.

Instead, the 22-year-old Canadian was aiming to replicate the sort of performances that saw him reach the semi-finals of the season’s previous Grand Slam at the All-England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, where he was beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic in a highly competitive contest that could have gone either way.

Playing on Louis Armstrong Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Shapovalov made a strong start as he broke Delbonis on consecutive service games to jump out to a commanding 5-2 lead. The Canadian closed out the set at the first time of asking, winning the decisive eighth game to love.

Shapovalov hit eight aces and won 82% of his first serve points in the first set. He was playing confident tennis and that translated into a fast start in the second set when he claimed a 4-0 lead following back-to-back breaks. Delbonis did manage to stabilize and get two games on the board, but he couldn’t stop the Canadian rolling to a cool 6-2 win.

Onto the third set and Shapovalov had hall the momentum. Immediately, the Canadian went 0:40 up on Delbonis’ first service game but he couldn’t convert as the Argentine pulled level to deuce. However, it would be sixth time lucky for the Canadian as Delbonis hit a backhand long with Shapovalov up the advantage on break point. He then consolidated by holding his own serve to craft a 2-0 lead. It was a lead he wouldn’t relinquish as he closed out the third set 6-3 and the match accordingly.