Shapovalov, Tiafoe, Kecmanovic Lead #NextGenATP In Winston-Salem
#NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov overcame a second-set surge from Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday to advance past the second round of a tour-level event for the first time since May (Lyon).
Shapovalov played one of his best sets in months in the opener, ripping a backhand winner on set point, and Sandgren trailed 2-6, 0-3, 0/40. But the American came back and led by a break in the second set at 4-3. Shapovalov, however, quickly recovered to advance 6-2, 6-4.
“It was definitely a great win,” Shapovalov said. “We’ve played a few times in the past and I normally play well against him, so I was just trying to be aggressive and take time away from him. I’m feeling fresh and ready for tough situations like the second set today, so I’m looking forward to my next match.”
The World No. 38 will try to win back-to-back matches for the first time since March at the Miami Open presented by Itau when he faces Serbia’s #NextGenATP star Miomir Kecmanovic. The 13th seed beat 20-year-old Aussie Alexei Popyrin 7-6(5), 6-3.
Kecmanovic, 19, cracked the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday after making the third round of the Western & Southern Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, last week. He currently holds the seventh and final qualification spot in the ATP Race To Milan, which will determine seven of the eight players at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 5-9 November in Milan. The eighth position at the 21-and-under event is reserved for an Italian wild card.
American Frances Tiafoe, sixth place in the Race, will face eighth seed Filip Krajinovic for a place in the quarter-finals. Tiafoe was leading 4-2 when Frenchman Jeremy Chardy retired, and Krajinovic rallied against Tomas Berdych to move on 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. The Serbian broke Berdych when he was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, and then won eight of the final nine games.
Duckhee Lee’s historic tournament came to an end with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 loss to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, the third seed. On Monday, Lee became the first deaf player to compete in and win an ATP Tour match.
“I’m a little bit disappointed right now,” Lee said. “I had many chances that I didn’t utilise, but it was a great experience overall.”
Hurkacz will next face 16th seed Feliciano Lopez, a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 winner against countryman Pablo Andujar. Top seed Benoit Paire also advanced, beating Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3, 7-5 and will face #NextGenATP countryman Ugo Humbert, who beat American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.