Denis Shapovalov pumps his fist.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Denis Shapovalov seems to be rounding into form nicely on the lawns of Wimbledon. The former semifinalist is into the third round for the second time in his career after defeating Gregoire Barrere in straight sets on Thursday.

He is the last Canadian man standing after Milos Raonic was eliminated in four sets on Thursday.

So far at the 2023 Championships, Shapovalov has taken to court three out of four days but showed little sign of wear and tear as he dominated on serve in a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(7) win.

A day after winning the last three sets of his opening-round match with Radu Albot, Shapovalov was at his aggressive best, firing 18 aces and winning 83 per cent of his first serve points. He only faced one break point in the match, which he saved. He added 45 winners to 33 unforced errors.

Both men started out well on serve, not facing much adversity through the first seven games. It was the Canadian making the first move up 4-3, drawing an error from Barrere at the net to secure the lone break in the opening set.

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Shapovalov’s strong serving was a means of keeping the pressure on his French opponent, who could not afford to fall behind a break. At one point in the second set, the Canadian won 14 consecutive points on his serve.

In the midst of that run, Barrere played a sloppy game to gift Shapovalov two break points. He fired a backhand winner on the second to put the clamps on the Frenchman.

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Consolidating the break proved challenging for Shapovalov as he let a 40-love lead slip away, ending his service points streak, and faced a break point for the only time in the match. But he found an ace to erase the threat and managed to hold serve before closing out the set two games later with a hold to love.

Shapovalov pushed hard to finish the match in regulation in the third set, getting Barrere to deuce three times but never managing to create a break point. But with the way the Canadian was serving, losing just six points in six service games, he gave his opponent little opportunity to mount a comeback.

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Barrere had one chance in a tense tiebreak to extend the match when he led 7-6, but Shapovalov drew an error. On the second match point at 8-7, the Frenchman missed a forehand to send the Canadian into the third round.

Awaiting Shapovalov will be home-favourite Liam Broady, who upset fourth seed Casper Ruud in the second round. The only other time the Canadian got past the second round at Wimbledon, he made it all the way to the semifinals.

Raonic Rally Falls Short

Milos Raonic’s return to the All-England Club came to an end on Thursday as he was defeated by 16th-seed Tommy Paul in four sets.

The 2016 runner-up was not quite as sharp as he had been in his first-round match on Wednesday and Paul took advantage, winning just enough key points to claim a 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-4 win.

While Raonic’s big serve was still strong, firing 21 aces and winning 78 per cent of his first serve points, he also threw in eight double faults, won just 45 per cent of his second serve points and faced 14 break points in the match, saving 10. His 49 winners were not enough as Paul struck 57.

Neither man was particularly sharp at the start of the match as three consecutive games went against the server early in the first set. Two of those breaks were for Paul as Raonic had to have treatment on his shoulder.

Once Paul moved ahead 3-2, he focused in on serve and finished out the set with three consecutive holds to love.

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Both men cruised through the second set without facing too much adversity on their serve. Raonic looked well on his way to leveling the match when he raced out to a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak, only for the American to win seven of the next eight points to steal the breaker and take a two-set lead.

Paul looked on the brink of victory when he broke Raonic to take a 5-3 lead in the third set, but he tripped as he served for the match. A volley winner from the Canadian set up a break point and Paul put the set back on serve by missing a backhand.

The American had another chance to close out the match in the following game with two match points on Raonic’s serve at 15-40, but a big serve followed by a volley winner allowed the Canadian once again to extend the match. Another tiebreak was required but this time it went Raonic’s way to force a fourth set.

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Raonic was under pressure early in the fourth. He saved a break point in the opening game, but could not hold on the next time up as the American fired back-to-back winners to seize the initiative.

That was the end of the comeback for the Canadian as Paul did not allow him another chance to get back in the match.