Tonight on Arthur Ashe we got to see an up and coming star play one of tennis’s veterans. 18-year old Denis Shapovalov took on the 8 seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Just as the match started we got wind of a huge upset on the outer courts: Borna Coric played one of the matches of his life to take out the 4th seed, Alexander Zverev. Would we see another seed fall?
Shapovalov started strong, breaking Tsonga in the first game. His lefty spin and ferocious tempo took Tsonga by surprise. The atmosphere quickly became electric. Ashe rocking, commentators getting high-pitched, Shapovalov shaking his knees frantically in his chair on the changeover.
Shapovalov took the set, 6-4. The young star chipped and charged, hit backhand flick winners, and slotted that lefty serve into the corners.
The second set proceeded similarly. Neither had many break points, but Tsonga played one sloppy game and Shapovalov took advantage. He finished the set with a leaping smash. 6-4 to the young Canadian.
The third set began inauspiciously for Tsonga. Shapovalov hit two unbelievable flick backhand passing shots, lunging diagonally at the ball. But Tsonga pressed hard and won an acrobatic point to hold.
Shapovalov immediately followed suit, his sliding lefty serve giving Tsonga’s backhand fits.
Tsonga played another terrible game in the famed seventh game of the set, and next thing he knew Shapovalov was serving for the match. Nerves affected the youngster for the first time in the night, and he went down 0-40. Tsonga’s forehand clinched the game. First break of the match for the Frenchman. 5-all in the third.
But Shapovalov put the pressure right back on Tsonga with some stellar returns. But now his opponent’s serve and forehand were firing at vintage levels. A tiebreak would have to settle it.
Tsonga committed a couple crucial errors, and Shapovalov took his mini-break advantage all the way to the win. Calm, composed, and ruthless.
Denis Shapovalov wins 6-4 6-4 7-6
The Frenchman pressed, and then over-pressed. Shapovalov had all the answers tonight. Inexperience? What inexperience?
Shapovalov’s magical win against Nadal in Montreal put the 18 year old on the tennis map. He’s managed to follow it up with more strong results. Add Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to the list of big-name scalps for the young Canadian lefty.
For more details, check out our live commentary.