© St. Petersburg Open

Denis Shapovalov hits 10 aces and loses four of his first-service points on Wednesday against Viktor Troicki in St. Petersburg.

Shapovalov Opens Quest To Emulate Coach Youzhny In St. Petersburg

Opelka strikes 26 aces in opening win

Second seed Denis Shapovalov began his St. Petersburg Open quest to emulate his coach, 2004 champion Mikhail Youzhny, on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Canadian recorded his 15th match win of the year with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Serbian lucky loser Viktor Troicki in 63 minutes. Shapovalov secured two breaks of serve in each set, hit 10 aces and lost just four of his first-service points (24/28).

"[It's] always great to get the first win, especially against a player like Viktor," said Shapovalov. "We’ve had a lot of battles before and they’ve been really long matches, so I’m really happy to get a straight-sets win today.

"Indoor tennis is just natural for me. It’s what I grew up playing on. For sure, it’s difficult to have those transitions really quickly from clay court to hard court, but we’re having to get used tot these situations now and trying to adapt quickly. So I’m really happy with the way I’ve been able to transition."

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Last month, the World No. 12 reached his first Grand Slam championship quarter-final at the US Open (l. to Carreno Busta). He also became the first player to reach both singles and doubles (w/Rohan Bopanna) quarter-finals in New York since Youzhny in 2006.

Shapovalov will next face Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka, who beat Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday. Shapovalov defeated World No. 141 Ivashka 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 at the 2018 Shenzhen Open.

"I really feel like it’s my second home over here, and every time I come here the fans just love me and the atmosphere is amazing," said Shapovalov. "Of course, the city is so beautiful, so it’s always an honour to come here."

Briton Cameron Norrie became the first player to reach the quarter-finals after he wore down Generali Open titlist Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-3 in two hours and 45 minutes. He now plays Ugo Humbert, who beat qualifier Pavel Kotov 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, or third seed Andrey Rublev.

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