AP Images

Nadal upset by Canadian teenager in Montreal

Leave a comment

MONTREAL– Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov upset top-seeded Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday night.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ontario, advanced to a quarterfinal meeting Friday night with France’s Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Hyeon Chung of South Korea 6-3, 6-3.

“It’s what I dreamed of all my life growing up, playing guys like Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), Andy (Murray),” Shapovalov said. “You know, my dream came true today.”

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 battled back after Nadal cruised through the first set, then erased a 3-0 deficit in the tiebreaker for the biggest victory of his career.

Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the tournament’s quarterfinals since Bjorn Borg in 1974. With hockey great Wayne Gretzky and Olympic swimming star Penny Oleksiak cheering for him from the seats, he also became the youngest quarterfinalist at a Masters Series tournament ever and is the youngest to beat a player ranked in the top two in the world since Nadal beat Federer in 2004 in Miami.

“He played well,” Nadal said. “He has a great potential.”

“I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.”

Roger Federer overcame a weak first set to post a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Spaniard David Ferrer in an earlier third-round match.

In Friday’s quarterfinals, the 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 center 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 quarterfinal meeting with Robin Haase, the 52nd-ranked Dutchman who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa downed American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-1 and will next play fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who ousted 16th-seeded Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, who breezed past Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round on Wednesday, struggled 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 earn two grand slam wins this year.

Federer is 17-0 in his career against the 35-year-old Ferrer, who was ranked third in the world in 2013 but is now at No.33.

Bautista Agut fought off a match point to force a tiebreaker, which the tired-looking Monfils opened with a double fault and never challenged again.

The unseeded Monfils played his third straight three-set match, including an upset win over fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori in the second round.

Schwartzman saved four match points to upset third-seeded Dominic Thiem in the second round. The win over Donaldson put him in a quarterfinal for the sixth time this year. Schwartzman’s only ATP win was on clay in Istanbul last year.

Donaldson, 20, was seeking a first career quarterfinal in a Masters Series tournament, where he is 0-13 in round of 16 matches.

Two-time champ Azarenka gets Australian Open wild card

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.

Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19.

She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10. The dispute with her former partner started shortly after Wimbledon ended.

Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday that every assistance would be provided to the former No. 1, adding “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”

The Australian Open starts on Jan. 15.

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

AP Photo
Leave a comment

LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”