Sunday, March 18, 2018 11:08:41 PM
AFP, Montreal :
Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov saved four match points en route to a three-set victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva on Tuesday in the first round of the ATP Montreal Masters.
The 18-year-old trailed 4-6 in the second-set tiebreaker but saved all four match points he faced to force a third set.
"I don't remember all of them. Honestly, it's a little bit of a blur," Shapovalov said.
"I remember one of them, he passed me. I hit a pretty tough volley. It was a pretty long point there. On one of them, I remember I was pretty far back. I went for a backhand down the line, which was pretty good. I wasn't holding back.
"I just told myself, he's got to win it from me, I'm not going to give it to him. I think I did a good job to stay tough out there."
Shapovalov broke Brazil's Dutra Silva in the seventh game of the third and went on to close out a 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 victory.
"It's matches like this I live for and that I play for," said Shapovalov, who earned a second-round meeting with former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.
With old-guard stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer taking a day off -- 19-time Grand Slam champion Federer to celebrate his 36th birthday-Shapovalov was one of a wealth of young talents to shine on Tuesday.
South Korean 21-year-old Chung Hyeon withstood 16 aces to beat 2014 semi-finalist Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3).
After the third set went to the tiebreaker without a break of serve, the 56th-ranked Chung built a 4-2 advantage and went on to secure the victory in two hours and 16 minutes.
He next faces ninth-seeded Belgian David Goffin, a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 winner over Japan's Yuichi Sugita.
Croatian 20-year-old Borna Coric breezed past Russian lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with top-seeded Nadal.
Coric has won two of three prior encounters with the Spanish great, who won a 10th French Open title this year and can regain the world number one ranking with a run to the semi-finals this week.
American Ernesto Escobedo, 21 years old and ranked 85th in the world, got his chance as a lucky loser when 10th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych withdrew with a rib injury.
Escobedo stepped in and defeated Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
Berdych, a semi-finalist at Los Cabos in Mexico last week, tweeted his regret at having to withdraw.
"I am sorry I have to apologize (to) all my Montreal fans," tweeted Berdych, who had played in 12 straight Canadian Masters. "I couldn't play, because of my rib disfunction I need to get well to go to office soon!!"
Third-seeded Dominic Thiem highlighted the evening action on Court Central, the 23-year-old Austrian taking on Argentina's Diego Schwartzman for a place in the third round.
Thiem, ranked seventh in the world, lifted a title in Rio de Janeiro this year and reached clay court finals in Barcelona and Madrid-losing to Nadal in both.
In other first-round action, American Sam Querrey defeated Vincent Millot for the second time in as many weeks, peppering the French qualifier with 18 aces in a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win. Querrey beat Millot in the quarter-finals at Los Cabos en route to his 10th ATP title.
American Jack Sock, seeded 15th, also advanced, downing France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
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