Superb Shapovalov Ends Monfils’ London Bid
Canadian to meet Nadal in semi-finals
Denis Shapovalov ended Gael Monfils’ Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes on Friday, beating the Frenchman 6-2, 6-2 at the Rolex Paris Masters.
“It was one of those matches where nothing was really going wrong for me,” said Shapovalov. “I felt like any shot I hit was finding its way into the court… Everything went for me, so I am super happy to get the win.”
In front of a passionate French crowd at the AccorHotels Arena, the 20-year-old dropped just two points behind his first serve (23/25) to overcome the two-time Paris runner-up after 59 minutes. Shapovalov has won eight of nine matches during the European indoor swing, building on an impressive run to his maiden ATP Tour crown at the Intrum Stockholm Open two weeks ago.
“I feel like with that title with Stockholm, it kind of gave me a sense of calmness, relief,” said Shapovalov. “I’ve just been able to enjoy the last couple weeks of the season and, because of that, I feel like I’ve been able to play really well.”
Shapovalov’s victory denies Monfils a second appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. The 2016 qualifier needed to reach the semi-finals in the French capital to claim the eighth and final qualification spot. Matteo Berrettini completes the field at the elite eight-man event to be held from 10-17 November at The O2.
Shapovalov improves to 4-0 in ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals after levelling his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Monfils at 1-1. The Canadian will attempt to reach his first final at the level when he meets Rafael Nadal on Saturday. Shapovalov owns a 1-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the Spaniard.
“I’ve beaten both of them before, but they’re unbelievable players, and they’ve beaten me as well. It’s going to be a tough match,” said Shapovalov. “They’ve been having amazing weeks, and they’re both playing some really good tennis. So hopefully we can have an exciting match.”
Berrettini Completes 2019 Nitto ATP Finals Field
Shapovalov silenced the crowd in Bercy with a rapid start, breaking twice en route to a 4-1 lead. The World No. 28 played with aggression on his backhand side and capitalised on multiple errors from Monfils, who attempted to shorten points with visits to the net.
After converting his third set point with an ace up the T, Shapovalov earned his third and fourth breaks of serve to establish a 3-0 lead in the second set. The Stockholm champion flattened his groundstokes to rush Monfils and whipped forehands on the run to overcome the Frenchman’s attempts to close the net. Shapovalov ended the match with the same stroke that clinched the first set — an ace up the T — to book his last-four spot.
Monfils ends his ATP Tour season with a 37-18 record. The 33-year-old lifted his eighth ATP Tour title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and also reached semi-finals in Montreal, Vienna, Dubai and Sofia.
“To be honest, Denis outplayed me,” said Monfils. “It wasn’t the best match I played. But I think I couldn’t have [done much] better today. I gave everything I had, and Denis was just too good for me today.”