Over the past few months, Denis Shapovalov seemed to be losing confidence and accuracy, and we were all a little worried about the dip. As it turns out, we may have jumped the gun.
On Monday night at IGA Stadium, the 20-year-old Torontonian—by far the brightest star of the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank—played one of the best matches we’ve seen from him this season. He knocked out Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in two sets (6-3, 7-5) to move into the second round. On Wednesday, he will be up against second seed Dominic Thiem.
For Shapovalov, the match was a great revenge after his loss to Herbert in Montpellier earlier this year.
In 90 minutes, the Canadian broke his opponent four times and was only broken once in the first set due to a case of nerves that soon passed. Despite his five aces (versus three for Herbert), Shapovalov wasn’t perfect. He double faulted eight times and seemed to be lacking confidence. The most important thing, though, is that he masterfully overcame the lulls and earned a decisive break at 5-5 in the second set to secure the win, racking up 74 points versus 65 for his rival and winning 80% of his first serve points.