It wasn’t to be for Denis Shapovalov in his blockbuster battle with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.
The Canadian, who had dismissed the United States’ Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-2 in the first round, was hoping to go one better than his compatriot Félix Auger-Aliassime, who had fallen to an agonizing 7-6(3), 7-6(3) defeat to former junior rival Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece earlier in the day.
The moment before the big moment 👊
— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 9, 2019
It was never going to be easy for Shapovalov. Heading into the match, the 20 year old held an 0-2 record against Djokovic and the 16-time Grand Slam champion was fresh off a stroll to the Japan Open title last week, during which he didn’t lose a single set.
However, once the match began, the Canadian held strong against the Serbian, matching him game for game until the breakthrough eventually came. At 4-3, Djokovic broke Shapovalov and made no mistake in serving out the set.
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Early in the second set, Shapovalov still looked confident. The youngster crafted a break point on Djokovic’s serve in just the second game but was unable to take his chance. He was made to pay the price three games later as the World No. 1 ruthlessly came from 15:0 down to break Shapovalov again.
Towards the end of the match, Djokovic was serving incredibly well – winning his last two service games to love. When, at 5-3 up, the Serbian took a 40:0 lead on Shapovalov’s serve it seemed inevitable he would take one of the three available match points. He would eventually take the second, closing out the match 6-3, 6-3.
Just too good from the World No. 1.
Denis Shapovalov battles fiercely but can’t power past Novak Djokovic’s defenses, falling 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the #ShanghaiMasters.
Up next: Antwerp. 🔜 pic.twitter.com/FbyNpultrT
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) October 9, 2019
(Feature photo: Mauricio Paiz)