Not even rain or a late court change could break Denis Shapovalov’s home magic. The Canadian number one scored a bit of an upset in his second-round match at the 2018 Rogers Cup, taking down 14th seed Fabio Fognini in straight sets.
After rained messed with the order of play, the pair found themselves out on the grandstand. More rain would slow proceedings late in the opening set before Shapovalov mounted an epic comeback in the second to claim an impressive 6-3, 7-5 victory.
Shapovalov hangs on despite interruptions
The 19-year-old’s penchant for painting lines paid dividends early in the opening set. Up 2-1 on Fognini’s serve, the Canadian fired a backhand that clipped the sideline and was called in. Fognini stopped the point to challenge it, but hawkeye confirmed the ball was in, giving Shapovalov double break point. He would crush a massive return that Fognini could not handle to grab the early break.
Being the frontrunner was a bit of a challenge for the teen, as he needed a deuce to consolidate the break. Serving up 4-2, he sent a forehand long to go down 30-40, but used a massive kicking serve that Fognini could not handle to erase the threat.
As Shapovalov served for the opening set, the skies opened once again after Fognini took a love-15 lead, forcing the pair off the court for over an hour. When they returned, the Canadian promptly won four straight points to wrap up the opening set.
Fognini can’t close out
Despite Shapovalov holding in the first game after the rain delay, it was clearly Fognini who used the break to his advantage, while the Canadian looked rusty. The exchanges that were being easily won by Shapovalov in the opening set were now going the way of the Italian, who used his consistent ground strokes to draw errors.
After holding in the opening game, Fognini was gifted an early break when the teen committed four unforced errors in his service game, including a missed smash at 15-40. More errors from Shapovalov in his next service game gave the Italian another 15-40 opening and this time he sent an easy shot into the net to go down 4-0.
Giving away the second break seemed to wake up Shapovalov. His big groundstrokes were suddenly clearing the net and finding their marks once again as he began to bully Fognini around the court. A huge forehand winner at 0-4, 15-30 gave the Canadian a break point, which he was gifted when Fognini netted a forehand. After Shapovalov held to love, the Italian gave away his second break when he double-faulted at 15-40.
Shapovalov would level the set at 4-all before Fognini finally stopped the run with a hold. Still, the momentum was firmly in the Canadian’s favour. On the Italian’s serve at 5-all, Shapovalov took another 15-40 lead, setting up the double break point with a huge backhand. He missed his first chance, but Fognini drove a shot long on the second to give away the break. The teen would hold to wrap up the comeback 7-5.
By the numbers
Not necessarily known for his returning, Shapovalov picked apart Fognini’s serve in this match, claiming 45 percent of the Italian’s first serve points and 50 percent of his second serves. He also took full advantage of his break point opportunities, converting four of five, while saving two of the four he faced on his own serve.
Shapovalov will meet Robin Haase in the third round.