AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
After a full day of Canadian content on Tuesday, Denis Shapovalov was the lone Canuck in action on Day 3 at the US Open. He was taking on Soonwoo Kwon of Korea, ranked no. 73 in the world, who earned his very first Grand Slam main draw win earlier this week in New York.
It was a tight opening set, with neither player wanting to give their opponent any advantage. Shapovalov committed several unforced errors in the opener, which ultimately led to him dropping the set in a tiebreak.
In the second set, after an hour and a half of action, Shapovalov got his first break point opportunities of the match, finally converting to go up in the set. He continued his strong play to hang on to the lead, letting out a roar as he closed out the set with a strong service game. In the absence of thousands of fans in the stands, the players have to find ways to pump themselves up, which is exactly what Shapovalov was able to do.
If break points were few and far between in the first two sets, this was not the case in the third, as players exchanged breaks midway through the set. Afterwards, the Canadian took a medical timeout to receive treatment on his right leg. He would then save an important break point before converting on one of his own, bringing him to serve out the set and take his first lead of the match.
Shapovalov continued his momentum into the fourth, earning an early break point. The 21-year-old Canadian kept his foot on the gas, dictating the pace of play and running away with the set. He needed just under four hours to close out the match by a score of 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
“It was an extremely tough match today. The tiebreak in the first set didn’t go my way, but I bounced back the way I needed to in the second. In between points, I’m just visualizing what I want to do and how I want to be playing,” stated the champion.
Shapovalov who likes to dabble in music, got a little surprise at the end of his match. “It was a nice touch for you guys to play my song when the match ended. It was pretty funny,” he added.
Up next for Shapovalov will be American Taylor Fritz, the 19th seed at the tournament. The two have met twice previously, with the Canadian on the winning end of both of those matches. But first, he will take to the courts on Thursday afternoon to take part in some doubles action with partner Rohan Bopanna.