Friday, September 4, 2020

Shapovalov frustrates Fritz with five-set win

Denis Shapovalov, a 21-year-old Canadian, reached
 the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the second time.
2016 photo by Paul Bauman 
   Taylor Fritz was in position to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
   Instead, Denis Shapovalov rallied to advance that far in a major for the second time.
   In a matchup of rising stars, the 12th-seeded Shapovalov defeated the 19th-seeded Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 in 3 hours, 26 minutes in the U.S. Open.
   Fritz, a 22-year-old Southern Californian ranked 25th, served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   "He was playing incredibly well today, and I think we both deserved to win," Shapovalov, a 21-year-old Canadian with a sensational one-handed backhand, said in an on-court interview. "It was great tennis, and I think I just got a little bit lucky.
   "I stayed with him in the fourth set, when he was in control, and I saw him get a little bit tight. I tried to make him play as much as possible, then I got a little bit lucky on the set point and read it correctly to hit a good forehand.
   "I figured I needed to make a change for the fifth set, and I picked up my intensity and level."
   Less than one year after losing to U.S. veteran Tim Smyczek in the first round of the $100,000 Fairfield, Calif., Challenger in 2016, Shapovalov reached the fourth round of the 2017 U.S. Open at 18.
   Fritz, the son of former top-10 player Kathy May and ex-pro Guy Fritz, won his first two Challenger titles in Sacramento, Calif., and Fairfield in consecutive weeks at 17 in 2015.
   Shapovalov, ranked 17th, is scheduled to play Belgium's David Goffin, seeded seventh and ranked 10th, for the second time on Sunday. Goffin, only 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters), prevailed 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) in the second round in Tokyo last fall.
   Goffin beat 26th-seeded Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the fourth consecutive year. With another victory, Goffin will have advanced to the quarterfinals of every major.
   In a thriller that ended at 1:10 a.m. EDT Saturday, 27th-seeded Borna Coric of Croatia saved six match points in a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) victory over fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The battle lasted 4:36.
   Top-ranked Novak Djokovic dispatched 28th-seeded Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in their second meeting in two weeks. 
   Djokovic dismissed Struff 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of last week's Western & Southern Open in Flushing Meadows. Djokovic also defeated Struff in four sets in the first round of the Australian Open in January.
   Djokovic, a three-time U.S. Open champion, improved to 26-0 this year and 29-0 dating to November.
   Sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion and two-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist, beat unseeded Jessica Pegula, a 26-year-old American making her first appearance in the third round of a Grand Slam tournament, 6-4, 6-3.
   Kvitova reached the quarterfinals of the last Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2017 in her only Northern California appearance. The tournament moved to San Jose as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in 2018.
   Pegula, the daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, advanced to the final of the 2012 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger at 18 and semifinals of the 2018 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger.

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