MADRID — Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov is through to the semifinals of the Madrid Open after winning the latest round of his budding rivalry with Kyle Edmund.
Shapovalov, 19, recovered from failing to convert on match point in the second set and beat Edmund 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4 in Friday’s quarterfinal action on the clay courts of Madrid’s Caja Magica.
It was the fifth meeting in combined ATP and Davis Cup play between the two rising tennis stars, with Shapovalov now holding a 3-2 edge.
“It’s interesting. I feel like we have a really, really similar game style,” Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., said “We both go big on the serves, we both love to dictate with the forehands.
“It’s tricky to play Kyle. When he’s on, I’m not seeing the ball at all. He’s slapping winners left and right. It’s tough to play a player like this.”
Shapovalov will face No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany on Saturday. Regardless of the outcome, the Canadian teen will break into the top 30 of the ATP world ranking.
It’s possible that Shapovalov, who will be playing in his second career Masters 1,000 series semifinal this weekend, could supplant Milos Raonic as the top-ranked Canadian on the ATP Tour this season. Shapovalov beat Raonic, who is currently ranked 24th, in the third round in Madrid on Wednesday. It was the first meeting between the Canadians.
On Friday, Shapovalov had a chance to put Edmund away in the second set but missed on a match point opportunity before losing in a tiebreaker. But he put his frustrations aside to play a fundamentally sound third set.
“Yeah, it wasn’t easy,” Shapovalov said. “I took a bit of a break, went to the washroom, cooled down a bit. It was kind of similar to what happened in Brisbane this year against Kyle. I won the first. We had a really close tiebreak in the second. I missed a pretty easy overhead and he took the set. I got broken in the first game of the third set, and he held.
“I tried to learn from that. I think I did that really well today. As soon as the second set was done, I just told myself that it’s in the past, let’s just focus on the third, let’s focus on every point this set.”
Shapovalov did not falter on his second opportunity to put the game away, winning on match point No. 2 with an ace.
There was a moment of controversy in the second set when a fan yelled as Shapovalov was serving, and it appeared Edmund was not expecting play to continue and was caught out by the serve.
“It was too fast. But obviously I felt really bad. I felt awful about it. But I wasn’t really sure what to do in the situation,” Shapovalov said.
“At the end of the day I think it’s the ref’s call. The ref has to make that decision. That’s why he’s there, why he’s on the court. It’s not up to me. It’s not up to Kyle. That’s why we have refs in the first place.”
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