Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Fresh from his run to the US Open quarter-finals, Denis Shapovalov looks primed to go deep on the Roman clay after a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Pedro Martinez of Spain in the second round of the Italian Open. Milos Raonic won’t be joining him in the round of 16, though, after a loss to Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.
The Canadian had never faced Martinez prior to Thursday’s meeting but knew he was in for a tough test after the Spaniard had beaten the United States’ Sam Querrey in the previous round for his very first Masters 1000 victory.
Shapovalov, seeded 12th, and Martinez traded three consecutive breaks in the first set – but it was the Canadian who came out on top, despite it being a fairly even encounter from a statistical standpoint with very little to separate the two players.
Things looked bleak for Shapovalov at the start of the second set as Martinez jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. But the 20-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ontario kept his nerve and produced two breaks of his own to take command.
Serving for the match, the Canadian manufactured a 40-0 lead but was forced to wait for his victory as the plucky Martinez won two points in a row to make it 40-30. As they say, though, third time was the charm for Shapovalov who closed out the match 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile, 13th seed Raonic was beaten 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2 by Lajovic on Pietrangeli. A tiebreak decided a tight first set after the pair had exchanged breaks early on. A comeback looked to be on the cards when the Canadian won the second set – but a cool, calm and collected performance from Lajovic ensured he will advance to the next round.