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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday January 23, 2022

 
Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov knocked off third-seeded Alexander Zverev in straight sets to reach his first Australian Open quarterfinal.

Photo Source: Getty

The top half of the men’s singles draw has undergone another cataclysmic event. And once again it works in Rafael Nadal’s favor.

No.14-seeded Denis Shapovalov took out third-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 on Sunday night in Melbourne, leaving the Spaniard as the highest-seeded player left in the top half.

Tennis Express

More important for the Canadian, the victory ends a 17-match losing streak against the Top-5 and moves Shapovalov into the quarterfinals at the Australian Open for the first time. The 22-year-old has now won three of four against Zverev and he hardly skipped a beat as he moved past the German in two hours and 21 minutes, nearly doubling the winner count (35-18) of Zverev in the process.


It was a bitter pill to swallow for Zverev.

“I obviously, I give credit to Denis,” he said. “It's incredible he's in the quarters. I think he deserves it. He's done a lot of work. He's improved his game. But I've got to look at myself, as well. Today was just, yeah, today was just, in my opinion, awful from my side.”

Zverev places the blame for the loss squarely on his own shoulder.

“I had a good offseason,” he said. “I had good preparation. It's sometimes not only that. Yeah, look, there are no excuses. I need to be better, I need to do better. It's as simple as that. It's no one else's fault. It's not the coach's fault, it's not my team's fault, it's no one else's fault. It's purely me. At the end of the day, as the world No. 3, I have to take responsibilities for the things I do and don't do. Today was, yeah, was just not good enough to beat someone like Denis.”

Shapovalov will face No.6-seeded Nadal for a spot in the semis. The Canadian defeated Nadal at the Rogers Cup in 2017, but has lost his last three to the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal remembers the loss he suffered to the then 17-year-old well, and told reporters that he has a healthy respect for the Canadian’s dynamic game.

“When I played against him, after the match I said he gonna be potential multi-Grand Slam winner,” Nadal said. “And I still think that if he's able to keep improving, he will be a multi-Grand Slam winner, no? He has a lot of amazing things on his game, and his results says that. When he's playing well, it's very difficult to stop him.

“You can see today against a great player like Sascha, straight sets, if he's able to play regular in terms of his level, yeah, gonna be a potential very high-ranking player.”

 

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