Photo by Peter Staples/ATP Tour
It’s been a strong week in Cincinnati, Ohio, for Denis Shapovalov, winning in straight sets in his opening-round match against 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov and surviving a three-set battle against American Tommy Paul in the second round.
Unfortunately, the 23-year-old Canadian’s win streak would come to an end on Thursday, as he faced a razor-sharp Daniil Medvedev (world No. 1) in the round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open. In a hard-fought, two-set thriller, Medvedev defeated Shapovalov in straight sets to clinch his spot in the quarter-final.
Despite the loss, Shapovalov played a solid match and came out strong in both sets. The difference maker in today’s contest was coming up big in key moments, which the opportunistic Medvedev did quite well, breaking Shapovalov in the 11th game of the first and second sets. Medvedev would hold his serve in the 12th game of both sets, to take the match by a score of 7-5, 7-5.
Shapovalov did show some glimpses of the elite-level tennis he’s capable of playing against the world No. 1. In the second set, the Richmond Hill native delivered two aces, saved 83 per cent of break points faced, and landed 76 per cent of his first serves in play (a statistic he’s struggled with so far this season).
While Shapovalov will leave the Cincinnati courts hoping for a different result, he should be happy with the week he’s had at the Western & Southern Open. He will look to build off his deepest run thus far this season on hardcourts as he heads to the Winston-Salem Open, where he can hopefully find more consistency in his game before the US Open in September.