Denis Shapovalov of Canada. -AFP
Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov shocked top seeded Rafael Nadal to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP Montreal Masters tournament, temporarily spoiling the Spaniard's chances of returning to world number one. The 18-year-old Shapovalov continued his giant killing form at the hardcourt tournament by rallying to stun Nadal in three sets 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Thursday.
"I was just swinging for the fences," said Shapovalov, who needed a wild card to get into the tournament. The 31-year-old Nadal would have returned to No. 1 in the world if he had reached the semi-finals. But Nadal struggled to get the ball to Shapovalov's backhand and didn't have an answer for the Canadian's blistering forehand winners. Nadal described it as the worst loss of the season for him for a number of reasons. "Worst loss of the year because I lost against a player with a lower ranking," Nadal said. "At the same time because of the opportunity I had to get back to Number One."
Shapovalov's biggest win of his young career against the 15-time Grand Slam winner came as a result of some inspired tennis in front of a boisterous home crowd who cheered his every shot. "He won. It is an amazing for him. It is a great story. I am not happy to be part of this story," Nadal said. Shapovalov, who is ranked 143rd in the world, quickly got on a roll in Montreal, beating Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva in the opening round 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4.
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