Shapovalov Happy With His Game At Wimbledon

Denis Shapovalov (photo: Wimbledon video)

LONDON/WASHINGTON, July 7, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Denis Shapovalov is very happy with his game these days.

On Manic Monday, the young, 22-year-old Canadian lefty, seeded 10th at the Wimbledon Championships, beat a very good No. 8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain, 6-1, 6-3, 7-5, in back of 15 aces and 52 winners. While Shapovalov has tasted previous success on the All England Club grass courts – he won the Wimbledon boys’ championship in 2016 –  he’s now into his second Grand Slam quarterfinal (the first was last year at the US Open) and first at Wimbledon.

Looking back on win over Bautista Agut, the World No. 12 Shapovalov said: “I played some really high-level tennis. Obviously, I got a little bit nervous in the third set. I think it’s complete normal. I dealt with that really, really well. Other than that, I played really, really flawless. Roberto is a very, very tough player to play against.

“To beat him straight sets at a tournament like this, it backs up my level from Andy’s match.”

Andy’s match would be as in Andy Murray, whom Shapovalov beat in last Friday’s third round, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, before an electric Centre Court crowd.

“For sure, I’m just happy that I feel like I’m improving every single match.

“Honestly, it’s been really, really fun out there. I feel like everything’s kind of working for me. Obviously, it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to continue like this. But, for sure, I’m super, super happy  with the way I’ve been able to play the last two matches.”

Last Friday, after Shapovalov’s triumph over Murray, he was asked during press whether it ranked as the best Wimbledon performance of his career. He said:

“Yeah, for sure it is, I think it’s probably one of my best performances even outside of Wimbledon. I think I definitely played really flawless today and just super solid.

“It was an incredible experience. You know, like I said on the court, it was a dream of mine to, you know, to grow up one day and play on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. You know, I have seen so many legends play there, and it’s always just been a huge goal of mine.

“So to go out there today and to play a guy like Andy, who is also just such a legend, and to beat him today, you know, with the tennis I was playing, it was incredible for me.”

Fast forward to Wednesday, when much of Canada will be appointment viewing Wimbledon on TV across the provinces as both Shapovalov and fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime will be on the order of play. They are featured on No. 1 Court. First, Shapovalov will oppose No. 25 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia for a berth in Friday’s semifinal round. Then, No. 16 seed Auger-Aliassime will play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.

Ask to describe what to expect when he takes on Khachanov, whom he has faced before in Davis Cup competition two years ago and won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, Shapovalov said:  “He’s definitely very aggressive. He likes to dictate with the forehand. He has a really big serve. He likes to control the play. It’s actually pretty similar to me. Obviously we’re two big-hitting players.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of shot-making. It’s going to be a pretty, like, aggressive game in that match.”

Tuesday’s Wimbledon results

Wednesday’s Wimbledon order of play

Doubles No. 1 seeds Mektic and Pavic advance to semifinals

Wimbledon men’s doubles No. 1 seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, both of Croatia, advanced to the semifinal round with a comeback 3-6, 4-6,  6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory over No. 8 seeds Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4, that took nearly four hours to decide.

The victory by the Croatian duo enabled them to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals Turin at the end of the season. They’re the first doubles team to qualify. They are two wins away from winning their first Grand Slam doubles title as a team.

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