A Canadian teen has derailed Nadal's top-ranking dream
dpa Friday, August 11, 2017, 1:24 pm TWN
MONTREAL — Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov spoiled Rafael Nadal's No. 1 ranking bid on Thursday as the 18-year-old shocked the Spaniard 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in the third round of the Montreal Masters.
The loss in two hours, 45 minutes, means that Nadal has lost his chance to take over the top ATP ranking spot from Andy Murray. The Spaniard needed to reach the Canadian semifinals to make that happen.
Nadal's exit opens a possibility for No. 3 Roger Federer to possibly return to No. 1 with a top performance next week in Cincinnati, the final major tune-up for the U.S. open starting Aug. 28.
"Obviously (it) is a tough lose for me. Is a bad lose — it's probably is the worst lose of this year without a doubt for me," Nadal said.
"I also had the the opportunity I had here to come back to the No. 1.
"He played well, I played really bad. When this kind of thing happens, only thing you can do is wish the opponent the best, all the best."
The Swiss, second seed behind Nadal, overcame early struggles in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat of David Ferrer.
Shapovalov, the youngest player to ever beat Nadal, 31, was stunned by his unexpected success. "Wow, it's tough to speak," the No. 143 said. "I just beat my childhood hero."
The outsider who made his Wimbledon debut only weeks ago, stormed back in the second set after losing the first, breaking Nadal for 4-2 and levelling the sets with a down-the-line winner which caught the baseline.
The youngster who saved nine of 11 break points was heavily tested in the final set as he battled the experienced Nadal all the way to a tiebreaker.
The Spaniard took a 3-1 lead but found himself at 3-3 after a double-fault. Shapovalov grabbed the momentum and worked his way to a pair of match points. He converted on the first, a forehand winner which kissed the baseline as he fell on his back in shocked relief.
Federer defeated Spanish veteran Ferrer for a 17th time without a loss in a series that began in 2003.
"It's only but normal, to be honest, to lose sets and lose matches. You can't win every set, every match you play out there. I like to expose myself to those kind of matches," Federer said.
"I actually feel really happy because I know I can play a lot better. We battled, both tried to find a way to win," he said.
"He had a good start, I had a better finish," he said. "That was important. I take it how it is and hope that this match gives me some better rhythm and confidence."
The Swiss turned in a modest effort in the opening set to drop it, but began the second with a break of Ferrer on his way to levelling the third-round contest.
Federer then broke twice in the final set to ensure the win after nearly two hours.
The 36-year-old converted five of 13 break points against an opponent whom he has consistently dominated: "I'm not 100 percent comfortable with the head-to-head I have against David because I just have way, way too much respect for him," Federer said.
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev won a battle of NextGen prodigies as he beat Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3.
Dutchman Robin Haase produced an upset with his take-down of seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-1, while 12th seed Roberto Bautista Agut outlasted France's Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2).
Bautista Agut next faces a quarterfinal with Federer, who is preparing for a battle.
Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who upset third seed Dominic Thiem, advanced to the last eight with a defeat of American Jared Donaldson.
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