Denis' Day: Shapovalov Lifts First Title In Stockholm
Canadian triumphs in straight sets
On Sunday, the #NextGenATP Canadian became an ATP Tour champion for the first time at the Intrum Stockholm Open with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Filip Krajinovic. Shapovalov is the 15th first-time tour-level champion of the year. This season has produced the most first-time winners since 1999, when 16 men claimed their first tour-level title.
“I am definitely super happy and just really proud,” said Shapovalov. “Me and my team have worked really hard to get into this position of lifting a title, so I am really proud of myself and proud of my team right now.”
First-Time ATP Tour Champions In 2019
|Alex de Minaur||19||Sydney|
|Juan Ignacio Londero||25||Cordoba|
|Laslo Djere||23||Rio de Janeiro|
|Reilly Opelka||21||New York|
|Radu Albot||28||Delray Beach|
|Guido Pella||28||Sao Paulo|
Shapovalov did not drop a set en route to becoming the first Canadian champion in Stockholm. The fourth seed beat Alexei Popyrin and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe to reach his eighth tour-level semi-final, before snapping his seven-match losing streak in last-four clashes against Yuichi Sugita on Saturday.
”This tournament started the year my mom was born, so it has got a great history and it is amazing to be the first Canadian to win it,” said Shapovalov. “I have seen all the amazing names up on the board, so it will be nice to see my name up there as well.”
The three-time Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier’s victory marks the second straight year that a #NextGenATP star has captured his first ATP Tour crown at this ATP 250 event. In 2018, Stefanos Tsitsipas picked up his maiden trophy in Stockholm before triumphing at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Shapovalov’s title run comes in the same week that he booked his place at this year’s 21-and-under event. The third edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals will take place from 5-9 November at the Allianz Cloud.
Shapovalov wasted no time imposing his game on Krajinovic at the Kungliga Tennishallen, striking with power off both wings and charging to the net to rush his opponent. The Canadian’s attacking threat may have affected the Serbian on break point, as Krajinovic committed a double fault at 1-1, 15/40 to drop his serve.
The 20-year-old served with power and precision throughout the set, firing nine aces and dropping just two points behind his first serve (15/17) to maintain his advantage. Shapovalov closed out the set on his third set point with a powerful serve down the T.
With neither player able to break serve in a series of marathon games early in the second set, Shapovalov soon earned his chance to serve for the match. With consistent pace and depth on his returns at 4-4, Shapovalov quickly took control of points with his forehand to break his opponent for a second time. The World No. 34 closed out the match on his first championship point, soaking up the power from Krajinovic’s return before raising his hands in celebration as the Serbian fired a crosscourt backhand into the net.
”I told myself as long as I keep taking care of my serve I will be okay,” said Shapovalov. “In the second set, it was a little bit tough. I had a lot of deuce games on his serve and I wasn’t able to convert. I just kept fighting and stayed patient. Sooner or later I was able to get the break.”
Krajinovic was also attempting to claim his first ATP Tour trophy. The 27-year-old was competing in his third tour-level championship match, with previous runner-up finishes at this year’s Hungarian Open and the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters.
“He was the better player today, for sure. He played really well,” said Krajinovic. “It was a great week for me, I keep going and I have to work.”
Shapovalov earns 250 ATP Ranking points and collects €109,590 in prize money for lifting the trophy. Krajinovic receives 150 ATP Ranking points and €59,255.