Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Denis Shapovalov’s bid to reach a third consecutive final at the Stockholm Open came to an end on Friday in the quarter-finals as he was beaten by Alex de Minaur in straight sets.
The Canadian fell into an early hole to start the match never really recovered, struggling with the consistent play of de Minaur as he fell 6-2, 7-6(4), his second loss to the Aussie this year.
Shapovalov had reached the last two finals in Stockholm, winning his lone title on the ATP Tour there in 2019.
On this day, de Minaur was the more consistent of the two, only committing 10 unforced error to the Canadian’s 21, even though Shapovalov had more winnings 22 to 16. The Aussie was also more solid on serve, winning 80 per cent of his first serve points. Shapovalov’s second serve gave him trouble, as he only won 48 per cent of those points and double-faulted six times.
De Minaur got off to a quick start in the quarter-final clash, benefitting from some early errors from the Canadian breaking serve twice as he raced out to a 4-0 lead. Shapovalov only had one chance to reclaim a break but was unable to convert as the Aussie cruised through the opening set.
It was Shapovalov’s turn for a quick start to the second, as de Minaur missed a backhand wide to give the Canadian an early 2-0 lead. However, the Aussie hit a couple of spectacular passing shots in the third game in order to put the set back on serve.
The rest of the set remained on serve with neither player holding a break point before the tiebreak.
Some brilliant backhands allowed Shapovalov to score the first minibreak and the Canadian led the breaker 3-1 before de Minaur turned things around. A double fault from Shapovalov allowed the Aussie back on serve and the tiebreak continued normally until 4-4.
Another great passing shot from de Minaur gave him the minibreak at 5-4 and a chance to serve out the match. Two shots wide from Shapovalov later and the Aussie was into the semifinals.
Shapovalov is expecting to be competing next week at the ATP 500 event in Vienna. He was also confirmed on Friday as a member Team Canada presented by Sobeys for the knockout stage of the Davis Cup Finals next month in Malaga.