Rafael Nadal’s sign had to be taken down, Recalls Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov established himself as one of the young people to watch with a successful junior career. Rafael Nadal, the world’s No. 2 player and the three-time winner of the Canada Open, was startled by Denis in Montreal in 2017.

A teen won 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and forty-five minutes. He advanced to the Masters 1000 quarterfinals at the youngest age ever and won the Canada Open at the youngest age since Bjorn Borg in 1974! After Borna Coric in Basel in 2014, Denis became the second-youngest player with a victory over Rafael Nadal.

The 143rd-ranked player in the world threw everything at the Spaniard. He fired 49 winners and 41 unforced errors, but he still managed to keep the points on his racquet by playing courageous and aggressive tennis. Rafa struggled to play his best tennis, managing just 18 victories and 29 errors while still having a chance to win.

Nadal had six break points in the match’s final and was up 3-0 in the tie break, but he blew it and lost. In the shortest points, there was no way to tell the competitors apart, and Nadal had a slight advantage in the longer ones.

Denis’ forehand had a significant effect. He outperformed Rafa in the shot that was optimal for both players and kept his backhand steady enough to withstand the heated exchanges with a formidable foe. Serving at 57%, Nadal faced six break opportunities and was broken twice.

Shapovalov was kept in the running by the Spaniard, who won 37% of the return points while creating 11 break chances and only converted two of them. Despite serving at 46%, Rafa easily won the first set because the Canadian couldn’t get into a rhythm on the return.

In game eight, Nadal caught a break and scored 12 of the final 13 points to win 6-3.

In Montreal in 2017, an 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov shocked Rafael Nadal.

In the second set, Denis improved, generating all six break opportunities and breaking Rafa in game two to take the lead 4-1.

In the sixth game, Nadal thwarted two break attempts to keep the margin to one break. A few minutes later, he came back and quickly gained favor in the remaining games. As an alternative, Shapovalov proved to be the real clutch player by securing a second break in game 10 to end the set 6-4 and force a decider.

In the first part, the more skilled player was more threatening on the return, and he ought to have taken the lead at that point. However, Denis did not give up and managed to maintain a good result in the arduous game three by fending off six break chances and ten deuces.

In the final seven games, they both played brilliantly to deliver the crucial tie-breaking point. Nadal held a 3-0 lead before committing a double fault that allowed Shapovalov to get back in the match. The home favorite then struck a forehand winner to take the lead at 5-4.

In the following point, Rafa easily netted a forehand to grant his opponent two match points. Denis won the opening point with yet another brilliant forehand winner that advanced him to the quarterfinals. Fascinatingly, Shapovalov stayed at Felix Auger-home Aliassime’s throughout that week.

When Denis returned home after a thrilling victory, Felix had removed Rafa’s poster from his wall. “The morning of the match, when I woke up at Felix Auger-home Aliassime’s where I was staying, there was a poster of Rafa right there.

“It’s got to go,” I said in jest. When I returned home after defeating Rafa, Felix had removed it from the wall. Right there, a little bromance started “said Denis Shapovalov.