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GTA’s teen tennis phenom Denis Shapovalov stuns Nadal at Rogers Cup


Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov didn’t bend an inch against tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.

Shapovalov upset Nadal 3-6, 6-4,7-6 (4) in the Rogers Cup third round on Thursday night at a sold out Uniprix Stadium in Montreal, where crowds roared with every point scored by the 18-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont.

He advanced to a quarter-final meeting Friday night with France’s Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Hyeon Chung of South Korea 6-3, 6-3.

Shapovalov has taken major strides this week to reach his goal of cracking the world’s top 100 with wins over Rogerio Dutra Silva and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro. He also halted Nadal’s bid to regain the No.1 ranking, which the Spaniard could have achieved by reaching the semifinals.

Shapovalov looked unfazed in facing the biggest opponent of his young career. After Nadal cruised through the first set, Shapovalov kept battling, breaking service while taking a 3-0 lead in the second. When Nadal would start taking a control of a game, the younger of the two lefthanders would respond with big serves or impressive forehands down the lines.

Nadal fought off two break points to hold serve at 4-2, then earned his own break to win back the momentum from the 2016 Wimbledon junior boys champion, only to see Shapovalov snatch it back and clinch the second set.

The two held serve through the third. Nadal went up 3-0, but Shapovalov used two aces to fight back and complete the upset victory over the 10-time French Open champion.

Federer overcomes rough start

Roger Federer isn’t one to gloat over his stunning record against former top-10 opponent David Ferrer.

Without playing especially well, the 19-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland defeated Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday, stretching his career record against the Spaniard to 17-0. It started with a win in Vienna in 2003.

“Maybe in the beginning he was not as good as he is now,” said Federer. “Maybe I won five times because I’m better than he was.

“I was No. 1 in the world. I played him on hard courts also. I didn’t play him often on clay. Also, there were many tight matches, so maybe it became a mental thing for him. I have a lot of respect for David. As a person, he’s very nice. He’s a great fighter on the court. So this type of head-to-head is a bit strange.”

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Roger Federer plays a backhand during his victory over David Ferrer Thursday at the Rogers Cup men’s event in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

In Friday’s quarter-finals, second-seeded Federer will face 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6 (2) on centre court at Uniprix Stadium.

Unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman posted a strange win over American Jared Donaldson 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 to advance to a quarter-final meeting with Robin Haase, the 52nd-ranked Dutchman who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.

Federer, who breezed past Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round on Wednesday, looked lost in the opening set, spraying balls long, wide or into the net, but gradually rediscovered at least some of the form that has seen the 36-year-old Swiss put back the clock with two grand slam wins this year.?

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Karolina Pliskova defeated qualifier Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-7 (4), 1-0 to open up play at the Rogers Cup. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

WOMEN: Pliskova moves on to quarters

Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka was brimming with confidence after taking a set off the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player on Thursday at the Rogers Cup women’s event in Toronto.

Any hope of completing a major upset over Karolina Pliskova was dashed moments later.

After her serve was broken to open the third set, Osaka decided to retire from the match due to an abdominal injury. That gave Pliskova a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 1-0 victory and a berth in the quarter-finals.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Osaka suffered the injury. She was in form during the tiebreaker, firing a service winner to convert her second set point under the warm sun at Aviva Centre.

Pliskova came out strong to open the third set and Osaka called for a trainer at the changeover. She briefly stretched out on the hardcourt before the decision was made.

The world No. 50 received treatment after the match and did not speak to reporters.

Pliskova, meanwhile, will play either sixth-seeded Carolina Wozniacki of Denmark in the next round.

Also Thursday, she teamed with Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard,for a rollicking doubles match at the grandstand court. They pushed Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic to the brink before dropping a 7-5, 1-6, 11-9 decision.

Bouchard/Pliskova fall in doubles match at Rogers Cup1:01

Caroline Garcia of France defeated American Catherine Bellis 6-4, 6-2 in the other early singles match.

Later Thursday, second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania was to meet Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic. Third-seeded German Angelique Kerber was to play American Sloane Stephens and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia was to face Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.

American Venus Williams, the ninth seed, will play fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in the feature evening matchup. In the late match, Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty was to meet fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

In doubles play, Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., and Montreal-based Carson Branstine were to meet the top-seeded duo of Makarova and Russia’s Elena Vesnina. Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko were to face Germany’s Julia Goerges and Ukraine’s Olga Savchuk.

Play continues at the US$ 2.74-million tournament through Sunday.

CBC | Toronto News

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