US Open: Denis Shapovalov outlasts Taylor Fritz in five-set thriller
Photo: Al Bello

In one of the best matches of the US Open so far, 12th seed Denis Denis Shapovalov rallied from a two sets to one deficit to defeat 19th seed Taylor Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in their third round match. 

Fritz secured a break in the eighth game of the first set to take the lead with Shapovalov doing the same in the second to level the match. The American was back on top after taking a break-filled third set.

The fourth set would see Shapovalov rally from 5-3 down to force a tiebreaker, which he took and he ran away with the fifth set to secure a spot in the Round of 16 for the second time in Flushing Meadows.

Shapovalov comes out on top in gruelling battle

Both men were particularly strong on serve to start the match with the returner winning just five points over the first five games. Fritz had the first break chances in the sixth game, but Shapovalov proved to be up to the task, saving both to stay on serve on at 3-3. He wouldn't be as fortunate the next time he toed the line.

After another uncomplicated hold, the American was ahead 0-40 after a Shapovalov error. After saving the first break point, he double-faulted to hand Fritz the break and a 5-3 lead. With an opportunity to serve out the set, the American clinched the lead on his second chance with an unreturnable serve.

Fritz got off to a good start/Photo:
Fritz got off to a good start/Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images 

The second set was identical to the first with each man dominating on serve, 24 of the first 26 points going the way of the server. Out of nowhere, Shapovalov found himself with a 0-40 advantage after Fritz missed on a backhand and when he was errant with a forehand on the next point, the Canadian went in front 5-3. 

Serving for the set, the 12th seed faced his own 0-40 deficit, but he brought the game back to deuce and a sublime volley brought up set point. He was level after Fritz just missed on a forehand, the match now turning into a long battle.

The third set began with a break of serve to Shapovalov, a lead he would tenuously hold on to as he saved a pair of break points in the second game and was stretched to deuce in the fourth game. His luck would run out after a forehand into the net brought the set level at 3-3.

Suddenly, the server was finding it enormously difficult to hold and a run of three straight breaks was culminated when Fritz rifled a backhand past an onrushing Shapovalov down the line to take the set 6-4 and with it a two sets to one lead.

It looked to be going all the American's way as he held to love to open the fourth set and broke to go in front 2-0. A 12-point fifth game gave Fritz a 4-1 lead and three games later, he served for the match. A resolute Shapovalov stayed alive, winning a long rally when the American overhit a forehand.

Both men would hold for the rest of the set with a tiebreaker deciding things. The first 11 points of the breaker went to serve until Shapovalov pounced, striking a forehand into a wide-open court, letting out a yell in excitement and forcing a fifth set.

Shapovalov won 10 of the final 13 games of the match/Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images
Shapovalov won 10 of the final 13 games of the match/Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Carrying over the momentum he gained from staying in the match, the Canadian broke for a 2-0 lead and was nearly up a double break, Fritz pulling through after twice being forced to deuce. Now ahead 5-2, Shapovalov held two match points. A backhand erased the first, but a final forehand long by the American on the second clinched a hard-earned win for the 12th seed.