Shapovalov Soars Into Chengdu Open Second Round

Denis Shapovalov (photo: Chengdu Open)

CHENGDU, September 25, 2019 (Press Release)

Exciting Canadian NextGen star Denis Shapovalov commenced his Chengdu Open 2019 campaign in fine form as he defeated Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-3 in 72 minutes to move into tomorrow’s second round of the singles draw. 

The 20-year-old world No.34, who has two semifinal and three quarterfinal appearances under his belt this season, notched 16 aces and saved all nine break points he faced, while breaking his opponent once in each set to secure the victory.

Portuguese Joao Sousa is also through to the second round after overturning a one set deficit against Korean Hyeon Chung to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 39 minutes. 

Chung started strongly in the first set, breaking all of Sousa’s three service games while only having his serve broken once in four games. However, the 23-year old seemed to lose focus in the second set as Sousa began adapting to the Centre Court conditions, notching three aces and converting both the break opportunities he fashioned to force a decider. 

The third set was a closely fought affair in the first eight games, with Sousa saving two break points in his first service game and Chung saving five break points in his first two service games. The Portuguese finally made the breakthrough in the ninth game, converting the second of two break chances he had to set up the victory. 

“It was a great match. He started very well and very aggressive while I was trying a little bit to get used to the conditions here. I didn’t have much time since arriving from St Petersburg so it was a little bit tough for me in the beginning. But after that I was able to change a little bit tactically and I was more aggressive and I was able to win,” said the 30-year-old, who is fresh off making his second semifinal of the season at St. Petersburg last week. 

In the battle between two ATP NextGen players, it was Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik that took the spoils against sixth seeded American Taylor Fritz, reversing a one set deficit to win 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 48 minutes on Centre Court. 

After losing his serve in the very first game of the match to relinquish the first set, world No.71 Bublik was in imperious serving form for the rest of the tie, serving up 25 aces and winning 75% of his service points. 

World No. 30 Fritz was very close to forcing a tie-break with two game points on serve at 5-6 in the final set, but Bublik proceeded to win the next four points on the trot to ensure a winning debut in Chengdu.

“It’s great to get through the first round the first time I’m playing the Chengdu Open, especially with a fellow NextGen guy. I’m very happy to get through,” said Bublik, who reached his career high of No.69 earlier this month following a third round appearance at the US Open. 

In the other singles first round match contested today, Australian Jordan Thompson continued his fine form in ATP 250 events this year with a hard fought 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in two hours and 31 minutes.

In doubles matches played today, the Serbian scratch pair of Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic got their partnership off to a winning start as they rallied from a set down to defeat the third seeded Mexican-Swedish pair of Santiago Gonzalez and Robert Lindstedt 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-6 in one hour and 35 minutes. 

Top seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Filip Polasek of Slovakia swept past the Czech-Slovakian pairing of Roman Jebavy and Igor Zelenay 6-4, 6-4 in one hour to book their quarterfinal spot, while Sousa and Moldovan partner Radu Albot also won against the Kazakh-French pair of Bubilk and Benoit Paire. 

The tournament top seeds will finally see action as all eight second round matches, along with two doubles first round and two doubles quarterfinal matches, are set to be contested here at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre across three courts tomorrow. 

Kicking things off on Centre Court at 1pm will be fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who is back in Chengdu after a two-year absence and fresh off a strong semifinal run at the US Open that catapulted him back into the Top 25 for the first time since February.

He faces Briton Daniel Evans, who made his second career final at Delray Beach in February, for the third time on tour in tomorrow’s second round. Their most recent meeting came at Washington in 2016, where Evans prevailed in straight sets, while the Bulgarian won at Eastbourne eight years ago.

In the day’s second match, the number two seed Felix Auger-Aliassime will have to negotiate a tricky first round tie against last year’s semifinalist Sousa, having never met the in-from Portuguese on tour before. 

Top seed John Isner will make his Chengdu Open debut against Belarusian Egor Gerasimov in the day’s third match on Centre Court, scheduled to take place not before 4.30pm. 

World no. 19 Isner, who reached a career high of No.8 last year, has 15 titles to his name with the latest coming this July at Newport. The towering 208 cm Dallas resident, who also made the finals of the Miami Masters in March, has not faced Gerasimov on tour before and will be wary of the fact that his upcoming opponent defeated world No.13 Matteo Berrettini en route to the St. Petersburg semifinal last week. 

Meanwhile, French third seed Benoit Paire, also a debutant here in Chengdu, will meet Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on Court 1 at 1pm.

The 30-year-old world No. 23, who picked up two of his three career titles this year at Marrakech and Lyon, has plenty of experience against his 28-year-old opponent. The duo have met eleven times on tour, with Paire winning eight times and currently on a five match win streak against the Spaniard.

Serbia’s Lajovic, the number five seed, is set for a first-time meeting against South African Lloyd Harris in tomorrow’s third match scheduled for Court 2, while Shapovalov will also meet America’s Bradley Klahn for the first time on tour.

The other two second round matches will also be first time encounters, as Spain’s Fernando Verdasco goes up against in-from Chilean Cristian Garin and Bublik takes on Thompson.

In doubles quarterfinal action featuring seeded pairs tomorrow, top seeds Dodig and Polasek will meet Albot and Sousa while fourth seeded Israeli-French pair Jonathan Erlich and Fabrice Martin face off with British tandem Kyle Edmund and Daniel Evans.