Shapovalov advances to third round at Australian Open

Denis Shapovalov earned his place in the third round of the Australian Open tennis tournament by losing 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-2 in South Korean Soonwoo Kwon, Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Canadian struggled for four hours and 29 minutes, but managed to pull away in the fifth set after four hard-fought sets.

Shapovalov, the 14th seed in the tournament, had a 7-4 breakout advantage and had 29 aces. He did, however, commit 10 double faults, but Kwon was not flawless in this regard, finishing the game with six double faults.

The winning shots were largely in favor of the Canadian (81-29) and Shapovalov scored on 33 of his 40 net attempts.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game and it was,” Shapovalov said. I had a lot of chances in the second and third sets, but it was not going well for me. I managed to turn things around, I kept fighting and I’m happy that I was able to win. »

In the next round, Shapovalov will face the American Reilly Opelka (no 23). The two men will be in their first career meeting.

“Reilly is a strong server so there will be a lot of predictions on my end,” Shapovalov said. I will have to stay patient and take advantage of my chances, but I will also have to earn my serve. »

Shapovalov started the first set well by getting two breaks to give himself a 4-1 lead, but he let Kwon come from behind by also giving him two breaks. The Canadian, however, managed to do enough to save himself with the first set.

In the second set tiebreaker, the South Korean quickly took the lead by stealing three points from his opponent and he closed the books when he regained his serve, at 6-3.

In the third set tiebreaker, Shapovalov squandered a set point at 6-4 and lost four straight points, the last of which was on his serve.

The game changed when Shapovalov saved a break point with a superb backhand shot when the score was 2-2 in the fourth inning.

“That shot was very important. It helped me win the match, insisted the Canadian. He had an opportunity for a cross shot and he decided to go for the lob. I was able to make my backhand and I think it changed the momentum. I was able to stay in the game and break it a bit later in the set. »

Kwon was broken as Shapovalov led 6-5 in the fourth set. The Canadian scored three consecutive points to force a final set, during which the South Korean collapsed.

Earlier Wednesday, Rafael Nadal of Spain needed five match points to knock out German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal (no 6) is aiming for a 21st Grand Slam singles title, which would be a men’s record. He had two match points on Hanfmann’s serve and two others on his own before taking advantage of a foul from his rival to triumph.

Nadal converted four of his 16 break point opportunities, including just one in eight attempts in the third set. However, he only faced two break points and gave nothing to the German.

The 35-year-old Spaniard experienced several difficulties in 2021, after the Roland-Garros tournament. He struggled with fatigue, injuries and illnesses.

“I said here before the tournament started that things weren’t going to be perfect, but every day I’m going to be on the court, the chances of playing better are higher,” he said. After two games, it’s time to take a step forward. »

Nadal shares the record of 20 major singles titles with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, and neither of them are in the main draw this time around.

Federer is sitting out the Australian Open as he continues to recover from an injury. Djokovic, a nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, was pulled from the main draw following an 11-day saga surrounding his vaccination status and Australia’s regulations on it.

Miomir Kecmanovic, who was to face Djokovic in the first round, advanced to the third round after a 7-6 (7), 7-5, 7-6 (8) victory at the expense of Tommy Paul.

Tokyo gold medalist Alexander Zverev of Germany, Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini of Italy and Gael Monfils of France all advanced with a three-set victory.

Shapovalov is not the only one to have spent more than four hours on the pitch. American Sebastian Korda defeated Frenchman Corentin Moutet in five sets of 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (6), after four hours and 47 minutes of Game.

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