x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Denis Shapovalov showing he is the real deal at the US Open as he continues to build on breakthrough Rafael Nadal triumph

The Canadian teenager will bid on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.

Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the US Open. Andrew Kelly / Reuters
Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the US Open. Andrew Kelly / Reuters

In the space of four weeks, Denis Shapovalov has beaten Rafael Nadal, broken into the top 100 and qualified for the US Open.

He has also become the youngest man in 28 years to make the last 16 of the final Grand Slam event of the season, while finding time in between to create a new street fashion style "The Shapo."

"The month of August has been absolutely life changing for me," said the 18-year-old Canadian, who made the fourth round of a major for the first time when Kyle Edmund quit their third round tie with a neck injury on Friday.

Shapovalov was ahead 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 when the British player retired and goes onto face Spain's 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday for a spot in the quarter-finals of a side of the draw that is wide open with none of the eight players in it having ever reached a grand slam final before.

Read more

Federer and Nadal still the top men, but Zverev and Shapovalov give next generation hope

Federer renaissance can be an inspiration to injured Murray and Djokovic

Shapovalov is making the headlines for the right reasons, having been better known before the summer hardcourt season for being defaulted from a Davis Cup tie for accidentally firing a ball into the eye of an umpire.

His triumph over Nadal last month helped him make the semi-finals of the Montreal Masters, which in turn helped him to a career-high ranking of 67 just two weeks ago.

At the end of 2016, he had been at 250 in the world and at the start of Montreal, he was at 143.

His run to the last four in Canada made him the lowest-ranked player to perform such a feat at a Masters event in 14 years.

However, his summer season season was almost scuppered in the first round at Montreal when he had to save four match points to beat Rugerio Dutra Silva.

"It definitely all started from that match. It's just the way the sport is," he said.

"I feel like I kind of played with a second chance, a second life after that match, because I was so close to losing.

"From there, I just picked up my level and, yeah, just started playing well, just started getting a couple good wins, getting my confidence and momentum, and I'm playing free and playing loose."

His run in Montreal came too late to prevent him from having to enter qualifying for the US Open.

But he negotiated three rounds and three more in the main draw with a second round victory over French eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the headline grabber as he demonstrated that he had the consistency to back-up his breakthrough tournament.

"I did have that confidence that I can make it this far, but, you know, to be honest, this whole season has been going really quickly for me," he added.

"My goal was to be inside the 150 by the end of the year when I had started, and, you know, now top 50 seems doable."

Shapovalov, whose Russian parents arrived in Toronto when he was just nine months old, now lives in the Bahamas.

But his on-court style, with his flowing blonde hair flying wildly from beneath his black baseball cap, is more North American urban.

"I have a small head," he said when asked why he wore his hat a slight angle.

"I do have smaller hats, but it's just kind of become a little bit of my trademark. Yeah, and a couple of people are calling it the Shapo fashion."