NEW YORK | It was one of those marathons that only Grand Slam tournaments can offer. But Denis Shapovalov, the last Canadian to compete at the US Open, eventually tripped just meters from the finish line.
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“Shapo” led two sets to one against Russian Andrey Rublev, ninth seed, before losing this third round to 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4 and 7-6 ( 7).
During the four hours of play on the Grandstand, Flushing Meadows’ third largest court, we had time to see all the facets of the 23-year-old player.
The dominant, explosive and spectacular Shapovalov. But also Shapovalov angry, nervous and, above all, lacking in opportunism at certain key moments.
Four match points
Because without having the Russian completely in the lead, the Canadian knew that even his rival of the day, a player he knew well from having already faced him four times, was nervous.
The 19And The seed saved four match points at the end of the final set, but was never able to keep up in the super tiebreaker.
After the victory point, Andrey Rublev fell to the ground.
As Rublev fell to the ground after the last ball was played, Shapovalov threw his racket away, visibly annoyed.
But moments later, Ontario would join their opponent on the other side of the net for a long hug. Like two marathon runners proud of their performance, even if only one could cross the finish line in the lead.
“It’s sad. We both presented an excellent level, Shapovalov pointed out in front of the reporters. Much credit goes to Andrey, he played an exceptional game.”
“Obviously it’s disappointing to lose a game after playing so well,” he added. The more the tournament went on, the more I felt my game was falling into place. But it motivates me to do even better next time. “
This third round and this great performance against 11And World player came to put a slight balm on a difficult year for Shapo, who showed a 19-18 record before the US Open.
In front of an enthusiastic audience, who seemed to enjoy the show, the Canadian slammed an impressive 76 winners, often using his superb one-handed backhand to open the field.
But while he certainly got 23 aces, he also committed eight double faults, some of them in two critical moments, including the end of the first round.
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There are some shots that Denis Shapovalov would have liked to take.
“Sure, there are shots I’d like to see again, but it’s the same for both players, Shapovalov analyzed. I’m sure Andrey would also like to play some match points again. “
As in a real marathon, the 19And favorite also explained that he was captured by his body in the last few kilometers. After a lot of tennis, his quads hurt.
“But I’m happy with the way I fought, the way I fought. […] It’s a tough defeat to bear, but I did everything I could and Andrey was a little better. “