Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Roland-Garros continues to be the major where Denis Shapovalov has the most difficulty. The Canadian became the highest-ranked player on the men’s side to lose in the first round of the 2022 French Open on Tuesday, falling in the first round to Dane Holger Rune.
With the loss, Shapovalov falls to 2-4 in his career at Roland-Garros. It is the only major where he has not reached at least the quarter-finals, having never advanced past the second round.
The clash with Rune was one of the mostly highly-anticipated first-round matches when the draw was released, but the match never really lived up the hype as the Dane was in control throughout the match, taking advantage of some sloppy pay from the Canadian to claim a 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(4) victory.
Shapovalov was his own worst enemy in the match, committing 53 unforced errors and 6 double faults. While he did strike more winners than Rune, 27 to 17, the Dane played a far cleaner match with just 19 errors of his own. Rune converted five of nine break points, while saving two of three on his own serve.
Rune was coming into Roland-Garros with momentum after a good clay season that saw him win the title in Munich and reach the semi-finals last week in Lyon. He carried that into the first-round clash, breaking midway through the opening set to take the early lead. He broke again to close out it out.
Double faults were a problem for the Canadian in the match, particularly at inopportune moments. This was never more true than early in the second set when he hit back-to-back doubles from 15-30 in the second game to go down an early break.
The self-inflicted wounds continued when Shapovalov hit four straight unforced errors in the next game to allow Rune to consolidate the break. The Dane again took advance of errors from the 14th seed to add a second break for 5-1 as he took the second set in just 23 minutes.
Shapovalov managed to keep himself in the match with a hold from love-40 in the seventh game of the third set, but when he fell into the same hole at 4-4, he missed a smash to give the Dane a chance to serve out the victory.
However, for the first time since the first time since the fourth game of the opening set, Shapovalov found himself at break point having saved a match point and Rune sent a shot long to level the set at 5-5.
Suddenly the momentum appeared to the shifting to Shapovalov, who had a chance to break for the set in the 12th game, but could not get a Rune drop shot back.
Another error, a forehand long, cost the Canadian in the tiebreak. That was the only point won against serve in the breaker as Rune rode that one minibreak, drawing another forehand error from Shapovalov to convert his second match point.
It’s on the grass now for Shapovalov. Félix Auger-Aliassime is the last Canadian man standing in Paris, while Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Annie Fernandez are both still alive in the women’s singles.