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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, August 10, 2017



Spurred on by wall of sound, Denis Shapovalov was swinging with the ferocity of a man banging down barriers.

Striking with fearlessness, the Canadian wild card clubbed a forehand strike down the line toppling top-seeded Rafael Nadal in an electrifying 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) upset that sent him into the Montreal quarterfinals.

Watch: Federer Continues Mastery of Ferrer




The 143rd-ranked Shapovalov will play another left-hander, Adrian Mannarino, for a place in the final four. Mannarino dispatched Hyeon Chung, 6-3, 6-3.

The lanky 18-year-old Canadian reeled off seven of the last eight points becoming the youngest Masters 1000 quarterfinalist while denying the second-ranked Nadal’s quest to regain the world No. 1 ranking.

The 10-time Roland Garros champion took the court knowing he could surpass Andy Murray and regain the world No. 1 ranking he last held in July of 2014 by reaching the Montreal semifinals.

One day after Shapovalov deconstructed 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, the left-hander hammered drives down the line striking with bold ambition defeating the 15-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal tried to grind the teenager down in physical rallies and ratcheted up the pressure earning six break points in the decisive set.

Shapovalov stood up to every challenge nearly tripling Nadal in forehand winners and playing with more poise and power after falling behind 0-3 in the third-set tie break.

The capacity crowd, including hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, were chanting “Let’s go Denis! Let’s go Denis!” after Nadal double-faulted levelling the tiebreak at 3-all.

Blistering a 134 mph ace down the middle for 4-all, Shapovalov blasted a forehand winner then earned match points when Nadal splattered a forehand into net.

Capping a 10-shot rally, Shapovalov slashes a forehand down the line collapsing to the court in joy after a two hour, 45-minute duel. He arose blowing kisses to the crowd.




Shapovalov isn’t shy about taking heavy cuts at the ball and he showed a willingness to change direction in the opening set.

Turning his shoulders into a couple of ruthless forehand rips, the Canadian wild card fended off a pair of break points to level after four games.

The canary-colored top Nadal wore was already saturated with sweat when he slid an ace down the middle holding for 3-2.

Driving the ball deep, Nadal turned the screws on the teenager, who blinked in the eighth game. A double fault followed by a forehand error gave Nadal triple break point. Hurling himself into a forehand, Nadal drew the error breaking for 5-3.

The top seed recycled the pace pouring out from his opponent and left Shapovalov lunging for shots in the ninth game. Spinning a forehand pass down the line, Nadal earned triple set point. Dancing around his backhand, Nadal roped a forehand winner wrapping up the 38-minute opening set.

IT was a set of first-serve, first-strike tennis as Nadal won all 11 of his first-serve points, permitting just four points on serve.

Growing looser with each passing game, Shapovalov wrapped a couple of aces around a crackling forehand drive down the line branding a love hold for a 4-1 second-set lead.




Nadal broke back in the seventh game then held at 30 to level at 4-all.

The younger lefty confronted a love-30 hole with a shot-making tear. Shapovalov slammed a pair of aces during a four-point run for 5-4.

The thick thatch of blond hair was flying as Shapovalov launched himself into a forehand that stuck on the baseline for set point. A funky Shapovalov mis-hit return fell in, Nadal scurried forward but pelted a forehand long as the Canadian carved out his second break to collect the set.

A pulsating 10-deuce game spanned nearly 15 minutes. Amid striking stress, Shapovalov made a stand, holding for 2-1 when Nadal nudged a forehand drop shot into net.

The fearlessness the 2016 Wimbledon boys’ champion displayed was impressive. Shapovalov saved two more break points in the fifth game displacing Nadal with the slider serve then swatting his forehand down the line.

A gritty hold edged the Canadian ahead, 3-2. By then, Shapovalov saved six break points in the final set and had the Rogers Cup crowd rocking in support.




The three-time tournament champion held at love to force the tiebreak then opened a 3-0 lead before Shapovalov went on a shotmaking spree to pull off the biggest win of his career.


 

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