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Shapovalov cruises into Australian Open second round

Jan 15, 2018
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

It was a battle of the one-handed backhands as the Next Gen clashed at the Australian Open. World no. 50 Denis Shapovalov met a familiar foe from his junior years in Stefanos Tsitsipas, current world no. 82. Both teenagers – 18 and 19, respectively – were playing their Australian Open debut.

It was the Canadian who had the successful debut, taking out his Greek opponent 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(5) in one hour, 56 minutes.

Shapovalov earned the first break of the match when he forced a volley error from his opponent to go up 2-0. He quickly jumped ahead a double break at 4-0 and would take the set 6-1 after 25 minutes of play.

The Canadian hit nine winners to his opponent’s two in the set.

It was more of the same for Shapovalov in the second set as he jumped ahead an early break to go up 2-1 on Tsitsipas.

It was a tightly contested set but it was the Canadian that maintained his momentum and took the set 6-3 to go up two sets to love. Shapovalov hit seven winners to Tsitsipas’ three and saved the lone break point faced on his serve with an ace.

The 18-year-old looked to keep cruising as he broke Tsitsipas in the second game of the third set and held for a 3-0 lead, but soon after found himself even at 3-3.

A tiebreak would decide the third set. Both men were battling hard to hold their service points. Even at 5-5, Tsitsipas serving, Shapovalov earned the one and only mini break to move up 6-5 and, on an overhead smash, take the set 7-6(5).

Shapovalov ended the match with nine aces and 33 winners. He won an impressive 82% of his first service points and 68% behind his second serve. Tsitsipas was limited to 11 winners for the match.

Shapovalov will play the winner between no. 10 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or qualifier Kevin King in the second round.

Also in action on Day 1 was Vasek Pospisil. The world no. 103 qualified for the Open and drew world no. 6 Marin Cilic. Pospisil would drop a tight and entertaining battle 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) in three hours, 17 minutes.