A come-from-behind 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Dan Evans ensured Denis Shapovalov made the ideal start at the Miami Open. The 19-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ontario overcame a rusty showing in the opening set to produce some terrific tennis and book his place in round three.

The last time the duo faced off in ATP singles action was at the 2016 Drummondville Challenger in Quebec, where Evans won 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. And the Brit, who beat Malek Jaziri 6-2, 6-0 in the first round, got off to a strong start in the Florida sun, breaking Shapovalov in the fifth game to take an early lead. 20th-seed Shapovalov’s rhythm was all off and the Canadian was beginning getting frustrated with himself. Evans made sure to take full advantage, serving impeccably to take the first set 6-4.

It’s sometimes easy to forget just how young Shapovalov is, such has been his impact since his breakthrough at the 2017 Rogers Cup in Montreal, where he beat Rafael Nadal in a stunning upset. Still just 19 – his 20th birthday a month away – the Canadian showed great maturity to shake off a disappointing first set on Court 1 and make the perfect start to the second, holding his serve before going a break up.

A medical timeout soon followed, during which Evans received treatment on his right ankle after sliding awkwardly on the hard court. Even without that injury, though, it would have been difficult for the 28-year-old from Birmingham to stop an inspired Shapovalov as the Canadian broke the Brit’s serve a second time before taking the set 6-1 to send the match to a third.

A titanic third game of the deciding set saw the pair exchange advantage on deuce four times – but it was Shapovalov who came away with a decisive break. The Canadian produced a stunning return on the second to last point of the game, sending a sublime, unplayable backhand to Evans’ left to set up the opportunity to break. Despite some trouble holding his serve in the sixth game, Shapovalov stood firm before breaking Evans again at 5-3 to seal the win.

(Feature photo: Mauricio Paiz)