Photo: Martin Sidorjak
Canada remains winless in singles during this year’s edition of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. On Friday night, Denis Shapovalov, seeded no. 25 in the ATP Masters 1000 draw, was eliminated 7-5, 6-4 by world no. 77 Ugo Humbert in the second round after benefiting from an opening round bye.
In the first set, which was delayed more than two hours by rain, the two players exchanged breaks early on. They played a lot of close games that could have gone either way, but Humbert was ultimately more steady than his Canadian opponent and was rewarded for his consistency when Shapovalov hit his ninth double fault of the opening frame to get broken in the tenth game and Humbert took full advantage to take the lead.
It was a more subdued and business-like approach for Shapovalov at the start of set two which resulted in much better shot-making, fewer unforced errors, and a 4-1 lead after breaking serve for the second time in the contest in the fourth game. Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, that’s when Humbert turned the match back in his favour and reeled off five consecutive games to secure a victory in straight sets. He continued to pressure his opponent despite the deficit with aggressive court positioning and effective serving. He managed to deliver the goods at key moments en route to a third round berth. The win is the second of his career over Shapovalov.
Despite Friday’s disappointment for Shapovalov, Saturday is a new day with three Canadians taking to the court in Indian Wells. Félix Auger-Aliassime, seeded eighth, will begin proceedings in Stadium 2 against Spaniard Pedro Martinez. Meanwhile, on the women’s side, Bianca Andreescu, seeded no. 32 in the WTA 1000 draw, will take on American Peyton Stearns, and no. 30 seed Leylah Annie Fernandez will meet American Emma Navarro. Be sure to catch all the action on TSN and RDS.