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Sports

AFP
August 12, 2017

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Nadal’s pursuit of No 1 derailed by Canadian teen

Nadal’s pursuit of No 1 derailed by Canadian teen

MONTREAL: Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov shocked top seeded Rafael Nadal to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP Montreal Masters tournament, temporarily spoiling the Spaniard’s chances of returning to world number one.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov continued his giant killing form at the hardcourt tournament by rallying to stun Nadal in three sets 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Thursday.

“I was just swinging for the fences,” said Shapovalov, who needed a wild card to get into the tournament.

The 31-year-old Nadal would have returned to No. 1 in the world if he had reached the semi-finals.

But Nadal struggled to get the ball to Shapovalov’s backhand and didn’t have an answer for the Canadian’s blistering forehand winners.

Nadal described it as the worst loss of the season for him for a number of reasons.

“Worst loss of the year because I lost against a player with a lower ranking,” Nadal said. “At the same time because of the opportunity I had to get back to Number One.”

Shapovalov’s biggest win of his young career against the 15-time Grand Slam winner came as a result of some inspired tennis in front of a boisterous home crowd who cheered his every shot.

Shapovalov fell behind 3-0 before winning seven of the final eight points of the third set tiebreaker. He closed out the match with a forehand winner down the line and celebrated by falling onto his back then covering his face with his hands.

Nadal easily won the first set but couldn’t put the free-swinging Canadian away with a second set victory.

The third game of the second set lasted 14 minutes with Shapovalov finally holding serve when Nadal’s volley sailed into the net. Shapovalov managed to win the game despite double faulting three times.

“It is incredible. I can’t even talk right now. I grew up watching Rafa so just to be able to compete with him is one thing but to come out winning is a dream come true for me,” he said. —AFP

 

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