||Photo: Christopher Levy
Denis Shapovalov is through to the third round of the Rolex Paris Masters with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over No.11 seed Fabio Fognini, recording his first Top 15 win since March and booking a showdown with Alexander Zverev for a place in the quarter-finals.
The 20-year-old was loose to start the match, exchanging multiple breaks with Fognini before the mercurial Italian steadied his own wildfire game to claim the first set for the first time in his 0-1 head-to-head against Shapovalov.
With their only previous meeting a heated straight-sets victory for the Canadian on home soil in Toronto, Shapovalov knew he’d have to draw on the same level of tennis the earned him the win at Rogers Cup as well as that which saw him lift his maiden title in Stockholm less than two weeks ago.
Sure enough, the tides turned against Fognini.
Honing in his big lefty forehand swings and hitting his angles with greater tactical precision, Shapovalov wrestled control of the match with an early break in the second set and never looked back. The third set followed a similar script, as he jumped out to a quick lead once again, breaking the faltering serve of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters champion one last time to earn the win on Court 1 at the final Masters 1000 event of the season.
Shapovalov finished with an impressive 13 aces in an overall tally of 28 winners, with 77 per cent of first-serve points won and breaking the Fognini serve four times throughout the match.
A full send! @denis_shapo 😏
The 20-year-old Canadian is looking to finish his ATP season in style and secures a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 11 seed Fabio Fognini to book a showdown with Alexander Zverev in the third round.#RolexParisMasters pic.twitter.com/BZ59zOSQED
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) October 30, 2019
In the first match of the day on Centre Court at the Rolex Paris Masters, Milos Raonic succumbed to recent Vienna Open champion Dominic Thiem in three tight sets. The Canadian was dominant throughout the first set, ultimately winning more points than Thiem but narrowly missing out in the tiebreak to fall behind an early deficit.
Raonic was able to earn a crucial break in the second set at the last possible chance, bending the Thiem serve until it broke in the twelfth game of the set. With the match even and both serves firing, the third set was either player’s to win.
However, it was the five time champion in 2019 Thiem who was able to find just the right amount of luck to break first. A line-clipping floater return was enough to force a Raonic error, securing the only break that the No. 5 seed would need to claim the 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4 win in two hours, 38 minutes.
Picking up where he left off 👏
Last week's Vienna winner @ThiemDomi battles past Raonic 7-6(5) 5-7 6-4.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 30, 2019
Meanwhile, at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, it was more injury misfortune for Bianca Andreescu, who was hampered by back pain in her narrow three-set loss to childhood idol Simona Halep on Monday.
Leading 2-0 with a break against No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova, Andreescu appeared to be in ample condition to challenge the Czech, against whom she owned a 1-0 head-to-head with after winning in three sets at Rogers Cup in August. However, the US Open champion felt a pop in her left knee when stretching for a return out wide, stumbling as she tried to recover before immediately calling for the trainer.
Heavy strapping garnished her knee for the remainder of the first set, which Andreescu competed for valiantly and with the same “street fighter” mentality that has characterized her meteoric rise this season. It wasn’t to be, however, and as Pliskova struck an ace to seal the first set 6-3, the WTA Finals debutant made her march towards the net to shake hands and call it.
WTA FINALS SHENZHEN: No big surprise, Bianca Andreescu loses the 1st set 6-3 to Karolina Pliskova and then retires. Obviously the wise thing to do with her left knee issue – hard to believe she'll play her third match on Friday vs. Elina Svitolina. Osaka, Bianca out is very sad pic.twitter.com/eZ66jOdVHs
— Tom Tebbutt (@tomtebbutt) October 30, 2019
Unlikely that she’ll compete in the final round-robin match of the tournament against defending champion Elina Svitolina (2-0 in group-stage matches this week), the 2019 season is ostensibly complete for Andreescu – and what a season it was. Three tour-level titles – including a maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open, a Canadian record-breaking ranking, and a stunning 8-3 record against Top 10 opposition.
See you in 2020, Bianca.