Shapovalov battles back as young stars shine in Montreal

With old-guard stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer taking a day off - 19-time Grand Slam champion Federer to celebrate his 36th birthday - Shapovalov was one of a wealth of young talents to shine on Tuesday.

Shapovalov broke Brazil's Dutra Silva in the seventh game of the third and went on to close out a 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 victory.   -  AFP

 

Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov saved four match points en route to a three-set victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva on Tuesday in the first round of the ATP Montreal Masters.

The 18-year-old trailed 4-6 in the second-set tiebreaker but saved all four match points he faced to force a third set.

"I don't remember all of them. Honestly, it's a little bit of a blur," Shapovalov said.

"I remember one of them, he passed me. I hit a pretty tough volley. It was a pretty long point there. On one of them, I remember I was pretty far back. I went for a backhand down the line, which was pretty good. I wasn't holding back.

"I just told myself, he's got to win it from me, I'm not going to give it to him. I think I did a good job to stay tough out there."

Shapovalov broke Brazil's Dutra Silva in the seventh game of the third and went on to close out a 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 victory.

"It's matches like this I live for and that I play for," said Shapovalov, who earned a second-round meeting with former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

With old-guard stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer taking a day off - 19-time Grand Slam champion Federer to celebrate his 36th birthday - Shapovalov was one of a wealth of young talents to shine on Tuesday.

South Korean 21-year-old Chung Hyeon withstood 16 aces to beat 2014 semi-finalist Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3).

After the third set went to the tiebreaker without a break of serve, the 56th-ranked Chung built a 4-2 advantage and went on to secure the victory in two hours and 16 minutes.

He next faces ninth-seeded Belgian David Goffin, a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 winner over Japan's Yuichi Sugita.

Croatian 20-year-old Borna Coric breezed past Russian lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with top-seeded Nadal.

Coric has won two of three prior encounters with the Spanish great, who won a 10th French Open title this year and can regain the world number one ranking with a run to the semi-finals this week.

American Ernesto Escobedo, 21 years old and ranked 85th in the world, got his chance as a lucky loser when 10th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych withdrew with a rib injury.

Escobedo stepped in and defeated Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

'Rib dysfunction'

Berdych, a semi-finalist at Los Cabos in Mexico last week, tweeted his regret at having to withdraw.

"I am sorry I have to apologize (to) all my Montreal fans," tweeted Berdych, who had played in 12 straight Canadian Masters. "I couldn't play, because of my rib disfunction I need to get well to go to office soon!!"

Third-seeded Dominic Thiem highlighted the evening action on Court Central, the 23-year-old Austrian taking on Argentina's Diego Schwartzman for a place in the third round.

Thiem, ranked seventh in the world, lifted a title in Rio de Janeiro this year and reached clay court finals in Barcelona and Madrid - losing to Nadal in both.

In other first-round action, American Sam Querrey defeated Vincent Millot for the second time in as many weeks, peppering the French qualifier with 18 aces in a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win. Querrey beat Millot in the quarter-finals at Los Cabos en route to his 10th ATP title.

American Jack Sock, seeded 15th, also advanced, downing France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Results

2nd rd

Jared Donaldson (USA) bt BenoŤt Paire (FRA) 6-2, 7-5

Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) bt Dominic Thiem (Austria) 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 7-5

1st rd

Borna Coric (CRO) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 6-2, 6-4

Denis Shapovalov (CAN) bt Rogşrio Dutra Silva (BRA) 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4

David Goffin (BEL x9) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4

Chung Hyeon (KOR) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3)

Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) bt Francis Tiafoe (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 0-6, 6-2

Pablo Carreũo-Busta (ESP x11) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2

Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 6-3, 7-6 (7/1)

Sam Querrey (USA) bt Vincent Millot (FRA) 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5

Ernesto Escobedo (USA) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4

Jack Sock (USA x15) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3