Denis Shapovalov Defeats Luke Saville at Granby Tennis Challenger
GRANBY — Denis Shapovalov has had to reset his goals a few times this year.
“My goal was to be top 400 and the top 300 and now I just want to play good tennis and see where I go,” Shapovalov said Tuesday after he beat Australian Luke Saville 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) in the first round of the $100,000 Banque Nationale Granby Challenger tennis tournament.
When he hasn’t been terrorizing the junior ranks — the 17-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., won the Wimbledon junior title last month — Shapovalov has been climbing steadily in the ATP Tour men’s ranks. At 291, he’s the youngest player in the top 300 and he’s guaranteed to move up a few more places based on his performance this week.
Shapovalov showed a maturity to his game as he came from a break down to force a tiebreaker in the first set. And he was in trouble when he double-faulted twice and fell behind 0-40 at 1-2 in the second set. He faced four break points in that game, but managed to pull even.
“That was a big game and after that I served well, and I don’t think he ever got to deuce on my serve,” said Shapovalov.
The youngster made a big splash at the Rogers Cup last week in Toronto when he upset Nick Kyrgios. He said that win gave him confidence and a possible psychological edge over Saville, a 22-year-old who checks in at No. 247.
“He and Kyrgios are both Australians and I think (Saville) knew the result and he knew it was gong to be tough,” said Shapovalov, who will meet eighth-seeded Grégoire Barrère at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The top two seeds failed to survive the first round. Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador defeated top-seeded Stéphane Robert of France 6-1, 6-3, while Philip Bester of Vancouver beat second-seeded Quentin Halys of France 6-2, 7-6 (1).
Fifth-seeded Alejandro González of Colombia lost to Australian Andrew Whittington 7-6 (6), 6-2 while fourth-seeded Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. beat British qualifier Edward Corrie 6-3, 6-4.
Peter Polansky of Oakville, Ont., defeated Tristan Lamasine of France 6-4, 6-2.
Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., a former top-100 player, was upset by Japanese qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., an all-American who gave up his final year of eligibility at North Carolina to turn pro, had a good start against American Mitchell Krueger but faded and lost 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
There were also some upsets in the $50,000 women’s event, and Montrealer Françoise Abanda took out fourth-seeded Hiroko Kuwata of Japan 6-3, 6-3. Abanda will be back on centre court Wednesday night to play up-and-coming Canadian junior Bianca Andreescu.
Julia Glushko, the No. 1 seed from Israel, lost to American Lauren Albanese 7-5, 6-0 while An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium defeated No. 2 seed Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Pegula is the daughter of Terry Pegula, the owner of the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills.
Maria Sanchez of the U.S. outlasted Montrealer Marie-Alexandre Leduc 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 and sixth-seeded Olga Govortsova of Belarus eliminated Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Repentigny 6-2, 6-3.