Denis Shapovalov reaches to hit a backhand in Madrid. He lost to Alexander Zverev on Sunday.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Denis Shapovalov had some déjà-vu in Madrid on Sunday as his campaign came to an end at the hands of Alexander Zverev for the second time in five appearances for the Canadian in the Spanish capital. 

There was little Shapovalov could do as the German was in full swing, dominating on both serve and return to eliminate the Canadian in the third round 6-4, 7-5. Zverev also beat Shapovalov in straight sets in the 2018 semifinals in Madrid. 

It was a clinical performance by the German, who had 31 winners to a mere 7 unforced errors and was in the single-digits points lost on serve until late in the second set. Shapovalov was under constant pressure on serve, facing 14 break points and having to play nearly twice as many points on his own serve. 

Shapovalov was under pressure on serve throughout the opening set. He managed to save two break points in both his second and third service games, but down love-40 at 3-3, he finally cracked and sent a forehand long to surrender the break. 

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Zverev was even more relentless on his own serve than he was on return. The German lost just one point on his first serve in the opening set, and even that did not happen until the 10th and final game, as he never gave his opponent a chance to get back in it. 

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Everything was going Zverev’s way and he continued to dominate into the second set. Despite some great hitting from the Canadian, like a series of massive forehands to save the first break point in the opening game, he cracked under the pressure and dumped a volley into the net to surrender the immediate break in the second set. 

All signs pointed to a routine Zverev win as he continued to dominate and served for the match at 5-4. However, the Canadian finally got a look at a break point for the first time all day and miraculously chased down a ball that clipped the net cord and chipped it over for a winner to level at 5-5. 

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But Shapovalov was only delaying the inevitable as he followed up the break with arguably his worst service game of the day, throwing away a love-break to give the German a second chance to serve out the match, which he did despite facing just his second break point of the day, saving it with an ace.  

The loss from Shapovalov, combined with Leylah Annie Fernandez’s defeat against Ons Jabeur on Saturday, leaves Félix Auger-Aliassime as the only Canadian left in Madrid. He will play Jakub Mensik on Monday for a spot in the last sixteen.