Thiem Ends Shapovalov's Montreal Run
The stage was set for Denis Shapovalov to begin another memorable Montreal run on Wednesday. The #NextGenATP Canadian had the crowd behind him at the Coupe Rogers – a given in Canada – and a Top 5 opponent in Dominic Thiem, who hadn't played a hard-court match since March and had been winless in Canada (0-5).
Thiem, however, had his own ATP Masters 1000 run in mind. The Austrian held off Shapovalov and his cadre of fans on Court Central 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to end his winless streak at Canadian Masters 1000 events.
"Every win is special in these tournaments because it's only against great opponents," Thiem said. "Against Denis, it was special because he's a local hero. All the crowd was supporting him, so it was tough."
The second seed saved four of five break points and benefitted from some untimely unforced errors from Shapovalov, who has lost six of his past seven matches. The 20-year-old double faulted to get broken at 4-4 in the opening set, but Shapovalov came back strong in the second, ripping forehands and engaging the crowd with fist pumps.
The two were on serve at 3-4 in the third but Shapovalov dumped an overhead into the net to give Thiem the break and an opportunity to serve out the match. Shapovalov, however, said he'll take confidence from pushing the World No. 4.
"I think it was a great match for me confidence-wise. I showed myself that my level's there, that I'm able to compete against a player like this and have chances to beat him," Shapovalov said.
Thiem pushed his winning streak to five after taking home the Generali Open crown on Saturday in Kitzbuhel. "It's never easy, the smashes. Maybe it was a little bit windy. Already the lights were on. These kinds of smashes, especially in a tough situation where you're under lot of pressure, they look way easier than they are," he said.
Cilic reached his second quarter-final of the season last week at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. (l. to Medvedev). The Croatian won the 2016 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati for his lone Masters 1000 title.
Eighth seed Daniil Medvedev routed Brit Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-0 to maintain his high level on the North American hard courts. The Russian was perfect on break points, saving all three he faced and converting all five on Edmund's serve. Medvedev made the Citi Open final on Sunday, falling to Nick Kyrgios in two tie-break sets.
He will next meet Chilean Cristian Garin, who improved to 2-0 at the Masters 1000 level with a 6-3, 6-4 upset against 12th seed John Isner of the U.S. Garin, a two-time ATP Tour titlist this season, played a bit like Isner, winning 89 per cent of his first-serve points (33/37) and saving all five break points.