Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Teenager Shapovalov stuns Nadal en route to Montreal quarters

Teenager Shapovalov stuns Nadal en route to Montreal quarters

With Canadian icon Wayne Gretzky watching in the stands, Shapovalov did not look overawed from the outset, hitting an early nerve settler to hold serve in style in the second game.

Shapovalov, ranked 143, opened his campaign against higher-ranked Brazilian Dutra Silva and it was not going the Canadian's way as he lost the first set.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov downed 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin De Potro 6-3, 7-6 (4) in a second-round match on a gusty Wednesday afternoon.

The outburst appeared to steady the reigning Australian Open and US Open champion, whose serve and overall accuracy improved as the two-hour match progressed.

Shapovalov will reach his goal of moving into the top 100 in the world in a week that saw him save four match points in a first round win over Rogerio Dutra Silva, then beat 2009 U.S. Open victor Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round before toppling Nadal.

It ended Nadal's hopes of returning to the top of the ATP rankings as Shapovalov prepares to face Adrian Mannarino, who saw off Chung Hyeon 6-3 6-3 to reach his first 1000 quarter-final. They will play on centre court at 6:30 p.m. Friday. He saved the first with an ace but Ferrer made no mistake with his second set point, converting to take the opener 6-4.

The first break point of the match was on Coric's serve in the second game but he dug himself out of 30-40 with a great cross-court forehand, only to forehand into the net, gifting Nadal another chance and the Spaniard did not miss, firing a forehand victor down the line.

Shapovalov's serve let him down at 1-1 in the third set when he double-faulted three times and faced three break points.

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That unrattled Shapovalov, but only momentarily after breaking Nadal fortuitously to force a third and deciding set.

Nadal had a mini-break on the first point of the tiebreaker, but gave it back with a double-fault for 3-3 and Shapovalov earned his first match point when Nadal netted a backhand to fall behind 6-4. Nadal had only 18 winners and 29 unforced errors.

The teenager took the match to Nadal with his aggression and power and he managed to fend off a break point in the fourth game, eventually holding for 2-2.

"He has nothing to lose".

Nadal, who could have claimed the No. 1 ranking if he had reached the semifinals this week, said it was the worst match he played all year, but he had kind words for Shapovalov.

"He had a good start, I had a better finish", Federer told reporters after the match.

"Like I said yesterday, he's my idol", Shapovalov said after he became the youngest Canadian to reach the third round in this tournament.

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