Paire Overcomes Humbert; Shapovalov, Tiafoe Advance
Top seed Benoit Paire of France held off the Next Generation of French talent on Wednesday at the Winston-Salem Open, but just barely.
#NextGenATP Frenchman Ugo Humbert, 21, served for the match at 6-5 in the second set, but Paire broke and rolled in the tie-break and third set, advancing 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 to make the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event.
“I’m really happy to win against him,” Paire said of Humbert, who’s currently ranked No. 62. “When you play against a young player from your country, you want to win. It’s good for the confidence.”
The 30-year-old Paire, who was 1-5 in Winston-Salem before this week, will next meet 11th seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, who beat Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(7), 6-0. The Spaniard avenged his semi-final loss to Sonego at the grass-court Turkish Airlines Open Antalya and will try to reach his third semi-final of the season (Hamburg) against Paire.
#NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov won two consecutive matches for the first time since reaching the Miami Open presented by Itau semi-finals in March (l. to Federer), dismissing fellow #NextGenATP player Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-3. The 20-year-old Shapovalov won 80 per cent of his service points and saved four of six break points against the 19-year-old Belgrade native, who cracked the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings at No. 49 this week.
“Miomir is a very tough opponent. I’ve played him a lot in the past. We’ve had some crazy battles,” said Shapovalov, who leads their tour-level FedEx ATP Head2Head series 1-0. “I’m really happy with the way I’m playing.”
The Canadian is currently working with former World No. 8 Mikhail Youzhny, who retired last September at his home St. Petersburg Open. The two will continue working together at next week’s US Open on a trial basis. Shapovalov will next face the winner between sixth seed Sam Querrey of the U.S. and Russian Andrey Rublev.
#NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe moved into the quarter-finals after only eight games when Serbian Filip Krajinovic retired down 2-6, and Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz also advanced before two sets were complete because Spain’s Feliciano Lopez retired down 3-6, 1-3.
Tiafoe and Hurkacz will face off for a place in the semi-finals; Tiafoe leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, including a four-set win at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals.
Aussie John Millman and Steve Johnson of the U.S. will meet for the fourth time in the quarter-finals (Johnson leads 3-1). Millman beat Robin Haase 6-3, 6-4, and Johnson overcame #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-2, 7-6(5).