Photo : Martin Sidorjak
On Friday, the 2016 boys’ singles champion Denis Shapovalov took on the 2016 men’s singles champion Sir Andy Murray in the third round of Wimbledon.
Not only was it Shapovalov’s first time playing the two-time Wimbledon champion, but it was also his first appearance on Centre Court at the All-England Club.
Youth prevailed over experience in their first career matchup, as Shapovalov defeated the 34-year-old and former World No. 1, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
Despite struggling to keep his first serves in play, Shapovalov dictated most of the match with his heavy hitting, exceptional movement, and his crushing returns on Murray’s serves.
In the first set, both servers won their first service games. However, a couple of slips from the Brit required him to change sneakers ahead of the third game.
The shoes didn’t provide Murray with any added luck, as Shapovalov broke the Brit in the third and fifth game.
It looked as if the 22-year-old would run away with the first set, but the two-time Wimbledon champion had other plans in mind. Murray won eight consecutive points to earn a break and an easy hold to set up a dramatic 10th game.
Shapovalov was serving for the set up 5-4, but the tenacious Murray wouldn’t let up. The 34-year-old had the break in sight, however, Shapovalov demonstrated elite athleticism and stretched out to make an incredible volley and to save the break.
After fending off two more Murray break point chances, the Canadian was able to wrap up the opening set.
The second set, other than the sixth game that took Shapovalov over 12 minutes to get the eventual hold, was dominated by the Canadian.
He broke Murray in the first and third game and didn’t allow the Brit to break back. The 34-year old, who’s played four more sets than Shapovalov this week, started to look deflated. Shapovalov took the second set 6-2.
The momentum carried over to the third set for the 22-year-old. He earned another early double-break and cruised in his service games.
After two hours and 36 minutes, the Mississauga native punched his ticket to the fourth round of of Wimbledon for the first time in his career. As for Murray, this is only the second time he’s been eliminated ahead of the fourth round of Wimbledon – his most successful Grand Slam tournament.
Shapovalov will now face Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the round of 16 on ‘Manic Monday’.