Carballes Baena Upsets Shapovalov 8-6 In Fifth Set For Number Of Firsts
Dimitrov reaches third round for the fifth time
Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena completed three firsts on Thursday when he beat a Top 10 player, reached the third round of a Grand Slam and won a five-set match for the first time.
The World No. 101, who has played 81 of his 110 tour-level matches on clay courts, withstood the power of ninth seed Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 in exactly five hours on Court Suzanne-Lenglen at Roland Garros.
“It is a dream for me to win a match like this,” said Carballes Baena, in an on-court interview with Cedric Pioline. “I tried to be very solid and focused on my game. Shapovalov served very well, but I played a very good match. It was the first time I beat a Top 10 player, reached the third round of a Grand Slam, and the first time I won a fifth set.”
Carballes Baena recovered from 3-5 down in the deciding set, which saw Shapovalov twice serve for the match at 5-4 and 6-5. Shapovalov, who was also been bidding to reach the Roland Garros third round for the first time, struck 65, but also committed 106 unforced errors.
Carballes Baena served for a two-sets-to-love lead at 6-5 in the second set, but Shapovalov broke back to love. Carballes Baena won four of the first five games to control the third set, only to see Shapovalov do the same in the fourth set and break through at 2-2 in the 72-minute decider en route to a 5-3 lead. The 21-year-old Canadian twice came within two points of victory at 5-4, 30/15 and 6-5, 30/30, but Carballes Baena held his nerve and completed a memorable victory when Shapovalov punched a forehand volley long of the baseline.
"I feel like the conditions were as tough as possible for me to play against here, with the balls being just so heavy and it being really cold," said Shapovalov. "I play an aggressive game, I like to step in, and I mean he just had so much time. So it was very difficult. I'm really happy that I was able to bring myself to a winning position, and then in the end it's just a little bit unlucky.... I think I did everything, everything right, just didn't go my way today."
Former World No. 72 Carballes Baena will next prepare to face Grigor Dimitrov, who moved safely into the Roland Garros third round for the fifth time (also 2013, 2017-19) after the No. 18 seed defeated Andrej Martin of the Slovakia 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes.
Dimitrov, who won 18 of 22 points at the net and hit 29 winners, recovered from 1-4 down in the second set.
I think the conditions were a little bit different from the first match," said Dimitrov. "I felt like I had to like just kind of get over the hurdle of the weather... Also he's a player that I have never played against, so I just wanted to kind of feel out the atmosphere, move my body around and go for some of the shots, which was not easy. It started raining at some point and was very windy. There were so many variables today, I just wanted to control them the best way I could. I was very pleased that I finished in straight sets.