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ATP Montreal: Denis Shapovalov still pushes the limits, will face Zverev

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by Jovica Ilic

After his amazing win over world number 2 Rafael Nadal last night, Denis Shapovalov had to give his everything once again in 2-6 6-3 6-4 triumph over Adrian Mannarino in 2 hours and 25 minutes, reaching the semi-final as the youngest player in Masters 1000 history, passing Michael Chang from Canada 1990! Young Canadian again won a fewer number of points than his rival but he prevailed in those that were the most important, saving 8 out of 11 break points (Mannarino 2 out of 5) and playing better in the decider.

With these 360 points, Denis will make a debut inside the Top 70, as by far the youngest player in that group, proving once again his status of the best player born in 1999. Also, he is in the chase for making U21 Masters in Milan as well, moving to 4th place in the standings.

Also, he has almost no points to defend until March, and his ranking position could only improve by the time of Indian Wells and Miami next season, where he will play in the main draw directly! Denis again showed his outstanding mental toughness following that emotional match against Nadal, despite the fact this wasn't the high-quality match.

He ended with 34 winners and 49 unforced errors while the Frenchman was even worse, with just 9 winners and 30 errors. It wasn't the promising start for the youngster, who made a lot of mistakes in the first 4 games to find himself 4-0 down after just 15 minutes! Denis somehow stopped his downfall in the 5th game, saving 5 break points to get his name on the scoreboard, and this game helped him a lot to regain the confidence and his shots.

The game lasted 10 minutes and Shapovalov wrapped it up with 2 forehand winners, reducing the deficit to 4-1. Nevertheless, Mannarino served well in the following 2 games, bringing the set home by 6-2 with a service winner.

In set number 2, Shapovalov served at just 38% but he was back in the contention, making a fewer number of errors and starting to dictate the points from the baseline. More importantly, he converted his lone break chance to take the set by 6-3 and force a decider.

Mannarino served at 2-3 after a rain delay and that ruined his rhythm, making 2 easy mistakes and a double fault in the last point to fall 4-2 behind. Denis was now controlling the majority of the points with his forehand and he delivered an amazing forehand slice winner to grab the set by 6-3 in game 9, making the crowd erupting in joy.

In the final set, Shapovalov made the difference with his first serve and he was also more focused in the most important points, saving 3 out of 4 break points and stealing rival's serve twice for another impressive win.

The youngster saved 3 break points in game 2 with winners and he broke in the next game after a deep forehand return that Mannarino failed to control. Adrian broke back in game 4, though, and they both served well in the next 4 games to keep the result even at 4-4.

Frenchman wasted 2 game points in game 9 and Denis converted his second break point when Mannarino netter an easy forehand. Serving for the match, Shapovalov delivered a very nice hold, propelling himself into the last 4 with a service winner and writing a new chapter of Masters 1000 history once again.

Quarter-final results:

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