Denis Shapovalov follows through on a backhand.

Photo : e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Christian Hofer/Erste Bank Open

Denis Shapovalov looked perfectly comfortable in his quarter-final clash at the Erste Bank Open against an opponent who loves to disrupt opponents’ rhythm.

There was little Dan Evans could do to get Shapovalov out of his zone as the Canadian advanced to the semifinals in Vienna with an impressive straight-set win.

An early break put Shapovalov ahead and he never looked back, balancing his flashy shot-making with intelligent tactics to keep the Brit at bay in the 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Despite toning down the power a bit, Shapovalov still managed to hit 39 winners while limiting himself to just 17 unforced errors. He served well, winning 86 per cent of his first serve points and saving all four break points he faced.

Right from the start, Shapovalov was dialed in drawing some errors to create break points in the opening game and ripping a winner to seize the early initiative.

Rather than trying to hit through Evans, Shapovalov played solid, patient tennis throughout the opening set. The Canadian was happy to keep his opponent under pressure with safe, deep strokes and managed to make one of the tour’s best disruptors uncomfortable.

When needed, though, Shapovalov stepped up the aggression. He saved all three break points he faced in the first set with forehand winners and then bookended the set with a second break, drawing back-to-back errors from Evans with some strong hitting.

After saving another break point with a forehand winner in the opening game of the second set, Shapovalov sent to work on return. He took a love-40 lead in the Brit’s first service game and while he could not convert any of those three, he would get three more looks and grabbed the break with a volley winner.

Evans escaped a love-40 hole in the seventh game, but he still had no answer for the clean hitting of Shapovalov. The Canadian won 16 of the last 18 points on his own serve to book his place in the final four.

Shapovalov will look to reach his second final in the month of October when he takes on Borna Coric in the semifinals. The Croatian leads their head-to-head 2-1, although Shapovalov won the most recent meeting three weeks ago in Tokyo in straight sets. Both of Coric’s wins over the Canadian came all the way back in 2018.