Denis Shapovalov slides and hits a forehand

Photo : Erste Bank Open

Denis Shapovalov started strong but couldn’t hold off Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Erste Bank Open on Sunday, an ATP 500 event in Vienna, Austria. In the end, the former World No. 1 came through an entertaining championship match 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to capture his second title of 2022 and first since this summer in Los Cabos.

Playing in his second final of the season and second biggest of his career, the 23-year-old came out firing on all cylinders in the opening set en route to building a comfortable 4-1 lead with a double break thanks to some impressive tactics including some forceful hitting off the ground, an aggressive approach, and some clever net play which led to multiple winning volleys. He remained steady and consistent despite Medvedev’s best efforts to extend the rallies with his trademark world-class defence. He got one of the two breaks back and pushed hard to get back even when Shapovalov served for the set at 5-4, but the Canadian held firm to take the opening frame.

In the second set, Medvedev saved a break point in the third game and then took advantage of a dip in Shapovalov’s level of play to break serve for a second time in the following game. He proceeded to fend off four break-back points when he returned to the service line and managed to secure a hard-fought 4-1 advantage, a lead which he successfully held onto to force a decisive third frame.

Unfortunately, Shapovalov didn’t recover well from dropping the second set. With his frustration still lingering, he dropped serve again in the third game after getting broken at love. The errors continued to leak from his racquet as the set progressed and Medvedev found another gear to close out the match in decisive fashion even though the Canadian showed a lot of fighting spirit to stave off six match points.

Prior to this week, Shapovalov had never won a match in Vienna. His run will allow him to move up to three places no. 16 on the ATP rankings. He now heads to France for the Paris Masters tournament where he will look to finish his 2022 ATP campaign on a high note. He takes on Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in the opening round.