Denis Shapovalov winds up to hit a forehand. He lost in Indian Wells to Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Another good fight from Denis Shapovalov in Indian Wells was not enough to score a victory over Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday, as the Canadian was edged out in a tight three-setter. 

Shapovalov gave the No. 26 seed all he could handle for two hours and 20 minutes, but despite holding a late lead, it was the Italian who finished strongest, clawing out a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 win.  

Saturday was ultimately a disappointment for the Canadians, with all three who were scheduled in singles action exiting the tournament

It was boom-or-bust all through the match for Shapovalov. He had nine aces but 12 double faults, 32 winners to 21 unforced errors and won 76 per cent of his first serve points to just 40 on his second. Musetti had 15 winners but just nine unforced errors. 

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The first few games of the match were a roller coaster, with the pair exchanging breaks in the opening games before Musetti saved three break points to stay on serve in the fourth game. 

A couple of bad serves ended up costing the Canadian the opening set, as he struck back-to-back double faults at 3-3, deuce, to hand a break to Musetti. It was the only game with break points in the last six of the opening set. 

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From 2-2 in the second set, Shapovalov went on a roll. He found his range from the baseline and Musetti had no answer, cracking under the pressure with a slew of errors on big points. 

The Canadian broke twice, including as Musetti served to stay in the set at 2-5, to send the match to a decider. 

Shapovalov avoided a scare in the opening game of the third set, holding from love-40 down with some impressive shot-making, and then looked in position to complete the comeback win when he broke for a 4-2 lead. 

But Musetti was not finished. In the very next game, Shapovalov played an error-filled game, ending with a missed smash to hand the break right back. 

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Errors would come back to haunt Shapovalov again in a critical moment at 5-5. He double-faulted to give the Italian a break point and while he saved it, errors continued to prevent him from closing out the game. Eventually, he netted a volley to give Musetti a second chance where the Canadian missed a half-volley off an impressive return from his opponent to surrender the late, decisive break. 

Musetti served out the match to love. 

Even in defeat, Shapovalov showed more signs of improvement this week as he works his way back from injury. Now Félix Auger-Aliassime is the lone Canadian left in singles at the BNP Paribas Open. He takes on Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday.