NEW YORK | Seeming calmer, more inspired, Denis Shapovalov presented the tennis that allowed him to quickly climb the ladder of the world rankings, Thursday at the US Open, to reach in the third round.
The last Canadian in the men's competition defeated Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, 80th in the world, by a score of 6-4, 4-6 , 6-3 and 6-2, in almost 2 h 50 min.
A tenacious adversary, that “Shapo” also defeated – in three sets this time – in the second round of the same United States Open last year.
But if the Spaniard was tenacious and combative, he did not have the weapons to overcome a Shapovalov in full control of his shots.
Especially on his backhand, incisive, which allowed him to open the field to multiple occasions.
We can certainly blame him for his 13 double faults, but all in all, the 23-year-old Ontarian used his serve well in critical moments. Like on this set point, in the first set, where he slammed one of his 11 aces of the match. O Canada in the stands, courtesy of some Canadian fans.
After showing signs of impatience in the initial round against the Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler, this time it was a much more serene Shapovalov who appeared on the pitch on Thursday.
With the exception, perhaps, of these two racquet shots that he slapped in the face after a missed strike. Something to recall some of the anger of his adviser Mikhail Youzhny, but without traces of blood this time.
Because for the record, at the time when the Russian was playing, he had already hit himself if strong in the face in the middle of the match that the blood had started to spurt…
“I looked at Mischa out of the corner of my eye and he seemed to say to me: “ You see ? We are the same!” » laughed Shapovalov.
The 19th favorite escaped the second run, victim of a nice “ passing ” of the Spaniard on break point.
Finding his concentration
But the Canadian recovered quickly and as the sun set on the charming court 17, Carballes Baena also seemed to be starting to fall asleep.
Destabilized by several climbs to the net from Shapovalov, the 80th player in the world seemed to have given up before the end of the fourth set.
“Both players showed a good level [jeudi], so I'm happy to have got away with the victory, pointed out the 21st in the world. I'm happy to have regained my concentration after the second set. »
« After the first set, I was a little feverish, because I thought I was playing really well, a- he added. I started to get anxious, but I managed to calm down and focus on my tennis. ”
“Shapo” thus secured his ticket to the third round, to the cheers of the crowd chanting his nickname.
“I think my story here makes people like me,” he said. -He underlines. The US Open was one of my first big tournaments and I played my first match in New York on the Arthur-Ashe [central]. And also, I think people like my style, my energy. It fits well with this energetic crowd.
He will face tomorrow against the ninth seed of the tournament, Andrey Rublev, whom he has beaten twice in four meetings.
Eliminated in singles on Wednesday, Leylah Fernandez started her doubles run well on Thursday, alongside Daria Saville. The pair beat second seeded Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5).
Serena and Venus Williams will have just passed by for their last doubles meeting. Opposed to Linda Noskova and Lucie Hradecka, they lost 7-6 (5) and 6-4.