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Tennis News • Young Star Denis Shapovalov Beats Fellow Canadian Milos Raonic in Madrid 2018

Denis Shapovalov of Canada returns the ball to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their first round match at the Monte-Carlo Masters tournament in Roquebrune Cap Martin, France, 16 April 2018. EPA-EFE/SEBASTIEN NOGIER

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Even though he is just 19 years old, Denis Shapovalov already has an extensive history against Kyle Edmund.

 

Of course, Edmund has had nothing to do with the fact that a couple have memorable moments have ensued during their head-to-head history, which is tied at 2-2 through four meetings. It started at last year’s Davis Cup first-round showdown between Canada and Great Britain, when Shapovalov was defaulted for inadvertently nailing the chair umpire in the eye with a ball. The Canadian was trailing by two sets and had just been broken in the third when he blasted a ball out of frustration–by chance hitting right at Arnaud Gabas.

 

Earlier this season in Brisbane, where these two players collided in round one, the MC introduced Shapovalov as something along the lines of “Shapovalovalov.”

 

See the now-famous footage here: https://twitter.com/BerdVolleys/status/948040355412357122

 

What will transpire on Friday when Edmund and Shapovalov battle for a berth in the Mutua Madrid Open semifinals–where the winner would play for the right to finish runner-up to Rafael Nadal? From an entertainment standpoint, hopefully some more shenanigans. From a tennis standpoint, almost certainly some high-quality stuff.

 

After all, both competitors are in fine form. Edmund, an Australian Open semifinalist, finished runner-up on the red clay of Marrakech and has advanced in Madrid by beating Daniil Medvedev, Novak Djokovic, and David Goffin. Shapovalov booked his spot in the quarters with victories over Tennys Sandgren, Benoit Paire, and Milos Raonic, also surrendering only one set along the way (to Paire).

 

“[It was] definitely one of my best days on clay,” the 43rd-ranked Shapovalov said after defeating Raonic 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday. “To be on the court against such a legend for me, and for my country, it was an honor. It was fun. There was no pressure on me; obviously a lot more on him playing a young guy coming up. I just enjoyed myself.

 

“To beat him, it was a huge confidence-booster for me. The match felt like everything kind of went great. I was guessing a lot the right way on his serves. When I got my racquet on them, usually they were falling in. There’s nothing to criticize about my performance today.

 

“I have another tough match against Kyle tomorrow. We’re 2-all. At the start of the year he beat me in a really close match (in Brisbane). It was unbelievable tennis…. The performance was really, really good from the both of us. I’m definitely expecting a tough match tomorrow. It’s going to be good tennis. We’re both playing extremely well. It’s going to be fun.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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