It’s turning into a really good week for Denis Shapovalov. The 20 year old has followed his qualification for the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan by booking his place in a first career ATP final.
The Canadian’s 7-5, 6-2 victory over Yuichi Sugita of Japan, ranked 129th in the world, means he will compete in the showpiece event of the Stockholm Open on Sunday.
Heading into this matchup the pair had faced each other just once before. That meeting was in Basel in 2017 when it took a third set tiebreak to separate them. Shapovalov was the winner on that occasion, emerging with a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) victory.
Last time they faced each other, it went all the way to a third set tiebreak 💥
Lucky loser Yuichi Sugita and No.4 seed Denis Shapovalov take to the Centre Court for the second semifinal!
— Intrum StockholmOpen (@IntrumSthlmOpen) October 19, 2019
Things didn’t seem to be going all the Canadian’s way in this afternoon’s match, however – particularly when he went down a break in the first set. Shapovalov, though, showed great fight to break back immediately and level things up.
The youngster was soon playing with a confident rhythm and he took full advantage of his momentum by forcing Sugita into hitting a wayward backhand into the net, earning him another break of serve on his way to winning the first set 7-5.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 19, 2019
Shapovalov wasted no time in asserting his dominance in the second set, storming to a 40:0 lead on Sugita’s opening service game and taking the second of the two break points available. Another break a few games later really put Shapovalov in the driving seat and he made no mistake in seeing out the match, claiming the second set 6-2.
Shapovalov will now face Filip Krajinovic in the final after the Serbian defeated fifth seed Pablo Carreño Busta 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day.
Meanwhile fellow Canadian Steven Diez qualified for the final of the Ningbo Challenger in China with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over third seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The 28 year old is still yet to lose a set at the tournament and this victory marked his second over higher seeded player – the first coming against top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the previous round. Diez will now face fourth seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan in Sunday’s final.
(Feature photo: Intrum Stockholm Open)