Canadian budding tennis superstar Denis Shapovalov put on a show under the lights in the US Open second round, showing loads of power, athleticism and all-court skill in a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) victory over eighth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In a late Wednesday match in Arthur Ashe Stadium that concluded just before midnight, the 18-year-old Canadian used his explosive quickness to pounce on short balls, attacked Tsonga’s second serve at times and boasted more overall firepower than his 32-year-old opponent, reports Efe.
Just as he did in a win over Spanish great Rafael Nadal earlier in the North American summer hard-court season, Shapovalov also showcased his uncanny ability to get out of 0-30 and 15-30 jams on his service games, whether by coming up with a timely service winners or blasting unreturnable down-the-line forehands and blistering one-handed backhand passing shots.
The teenager suffered just one real hiccup during the two-hour, 12 minute contest when he failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third set.
But he quickly regrouped and clinched the victory with a comfortable win in the third-set tiebreaker.
Afterward, the fast-rising, 69th-ranked Shapovalov was humble about his latest victory over a top player.
“I don’t think that win was any bit routine. I played unbelievable today, very high level,” Shapovalov, who will next take on big-hitting Kyle Edmund of the United Kingdom, said in his post-match press conference.”
“Yeah, I don’t know why, but I just managed to stay loose and go for my shots the whole match, except a little bit at … 5-4, serving for the third set.”
While Shapovalov has seized the moment thus far in his first US Open, another young star, German Alexander Zverev, the No. 4 seed, was stunned by fellow 20-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4) on Wednesday afternoon.
Afterward, Zverev rued his missed opportunity in the bottom half of the draw, which has been left wide open after Scottish world No. 2 Andy Murray pulled out of the tournament with an injury.
“It’s upsetting because the draw is pretty open in the bottom part. I felt like I should have been the favored there. You know, I just played a very, very bad match, so it’s unfortunate. But that’s how it is,” Zverev said.