Photo: camerawork usa

On Thursday, Denis Shapovalov – the Stockholm Open defending champion – dueled with Arthur Rinderknech of France in the last quarter-final match of the tournament. So far in the event, Shapovalov dominated Andrea Vavassori of Italy 7-6(1), 6-1 in the second round after receiving a first-round bye as the tournament No. 3 seed. The Canadian continued to find success in the Swedish capital, as he ousted the Frenchman 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Shapovalov got off to a rough start in today’s contest. The World No. 18 double-faulted twice in his opening service game, eventually leading to an early break advantage for the Frenchman. Rinderknech would climb his way to a commanding 4-0 lead, however, Shapovalov managed to bounce back and won the next three games. That would be as close as the Canadian would get to Rinderknech in the first set, as he dropped it by a score of 6-4. 

The second set went much better for Shapovalov. He regained his rhythm in the service department and started to look more comfortable as the set progressed. Rinderknech also served superbly in the second set, but blinked first in the ninth game and gave Shapovalov two break-point opportunities. Shapovalov would convert on his second to level the match at 1-1.

In the deciding set, Rinderknech faced the first break-point opportunity but the Canadian could not capitalize on his chance. Rinderknech had an opportunity of his own in the following game, however, Shapovalov escaped it with some heavy-hitting strikes.

In the 11th game, Rinderknech hit a couple of unforced errors and dug himself into a love-30 hole. He managed to fight his way back to a 40-30 lead, however, Shapovalov didn’t let up and eventually broke his opponent to go up 6-5. Shapovalov made no mistake serving out the match in the 12th game and clinched his fifth semi-final appearance of the season.

Today’s victory sets up an all-Canadian semi-final tomorrow between Shapovalov and good pal Félix Auger-Aliassime. Auger-Aliassime leads their ATP head-to-head 3-2.