Photo: camerawork usa
On Saturday, Denis Shapovalov looked to become the first Canadian to win back-to-back ATP titles at the same event since Milos Raonic in 2013. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old fell just short of the mark, losing his finals match at the Stockholm Open to Tommy Paul by a score of 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Shapovalov’s run to the finals was filled with inspiring victories over the likes of Italy’s Andrea Vavassori (7-6(1), 6-1), France’s Arthur Rinderknech (4-6, 6-3, 7-5), and compatriot Félix Auger-Aliassime (6-4, 7-5).
The defending champion entered today’s clash as the favourite against World No. 52 Paul and played terrifically. However, he couldn’t quite outlast the tenacious Paul.
In the first set, Shapovalov got off to a shaky start. He was forced to save two break points in his opening service game and eventually lost his serve in the fifth game as Paul broke to love.
The Canadian regained his rhythm in the second set and broke the American twice en route to clinching the set 6-2. Shapovalov did face six break points in the set but managed to turn them all aside.
In the deciding third set, both players had their chances to pull ahead. Paul had two break opportunities in the fifth game and Shapovalov had two of his own in the eighth game. But, the servers managed to hold.
The turning point in the contest was in the ninth game, as Paul kept relentless pressure on the Shapovalov serve. The American would set up triple break points and eventually broke Shapovalov on the first break-point opportunity. Paul had no trouble serving out the match in the 10th game to clinch the Stockholm Open title.
Paul became the first American to win the Stockholm Open since James Blake in 2006.