Shapovalov Wins All-#NextGenATP Battle Against Tiafoe
Denis Shapovalov got his revenge against Frances Tiafoe in a battle of #NextGenATP stars on Monday at the Western & Southern Open, defeating the American 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5 to reach the second round in Cincinnati.
Just six months ago, Tiafoe prevented the Canadian from reaching his first ATP World Tour final, beating Shapovalov in the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open en route to his maiden championship. But at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Ohio, it was the left-handed 19-year-old who prevailed, coming back from down a late break in the third set to advance to a meeting against 14th seed Kyle Edmund.
Shapovalov did not quite match his 2017 semi-final magic at the Rogers Cup last week, but showed good tennis to beat in-form Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and Los Cabos champion Fabio Fognini, both in straight sets. He has reached a career-high in the ATP Rankings 11 times this season, peaking at No. 23 on 11 June. Shapovalov will have a chance to climb higher than his current spot at No. 32 depending on his results on debut in Cincinnati, as he did not compete this week in 2017, and thus has no points to defend.
It has been a tremendous rise for the teenager, who 53 weeks ago was World No. 143. But he has not been defined by his run to the last four in Montreal one year ago. Instead, Shapovalov has continued to get better, qualifying for the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals. And this year, he is No. 3 in the ATP Race To Milan, putting himself in good position to compete at the 21-and-under event again.
For a moment, it appeared Shapovalov would not get to face Edmund, who reached this year's Australian Open semi-finals. Tiafoe, who is No. 5 in the Race, broke the Canadian at 4-4 in the decider when Shapovalov missed in the net. But the American could not serve out the match, getting broken in his final two service games to fall after two hours, 20 minutes.
Shapovalov has already played Edmund five times in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, leading 3-2, despite the pair only being 19 and 23, respectively. The Canadian triumphed in their most recent meeting at the Mutua Madrid Open earlier this season.
Second seed Roger Federer knows that he will face Peter Gojowczyk in his first match since Wimbledon, as the German beat Portugal's Joao Sousa 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. World No. 6 Kevin Anderson, who also has a bye, will play Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who beat Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-2, in the second round.
While red-hot #NextGenATP Greek and Rogers Cup finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas will play 11th seed David Goffin on Tuesday, the winner's second-round opponent has already been decided. It will be Frenchman Benoit Paire, who sent former World No. 3 David Ferrer to his fourth straight loss with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph.