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ATP Montreal: Zverev edges Shapovalov to set the final clash with Federer

ATP Montreal: Zverev edges Shapovalov to set the final clash with Federer

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by Jovica Ilic

World number 8 Alexander Zverev continued his impressive run in 2017, improving his score to 45-13 after a 6-4 7-5 victory over super talented Denis Shapovalov in an hour and 43 minutes, reaching the final in Montreal.

This will already be the 6th ATP final for the 20-year-old this season and he will try to win back-to-back titles, after conquering Washington last Sunday. With these points, Sascha will be the 7th best player in the world on Monday and he is now 3rd in the ATP Race, passing Dominic Thiem and standing behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

In addition, Zverev will have a chance to fight for his second Masters 1000 title in a row, and he is only the 8th U20 player with 2 Masters 1000 finals in a single season after Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, Andrei Medvedev, Marat Safin, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the first in 10 years! In what has been the youngest Masters 1000 semi-final since 2005, an 18-year-old Shapovalov fought well but he made too many errors, especially from his forehand, and he missed the opportunity to become the youngest Masters 1000 finalist ever.

Just like against Nick Kyrgios, Zverev showed clutch in the deciding points, saving 6 out of 7 break points (14 out of 15 in the last 2 matches) and breaking Denis on all 3 occasions (Canadian hit a double fault every time he faced break point) to deliver another great win.

In the final, Alexander will face Roger Federer in the rematch of the Halle final which Roger won with ease. It wasn't the match of the highest quality, with a lot of mistakes from both, but it was an entertaining one, with each player giving his best to prevail and reach the final.

The home crowd carried Shapovalov but unlike the previous matches, he couldn't come back from a set down, as Zverev kept his focus in the closing stages of the second set to bring the match home. Despite only 2 aces, Sascha did a good job with his first serve, making a lot of damage with it and creating the opportunity for an easy groundstroke right after it.

German finished the match with 12 winners and 27 unforced errors but we should consider that solid compared to the 17-43 ratio for Shapovalov, who couldn't find the range with his forehand. Also, Zverev had a 48-38 advantage in the shortest rallies, up to 4 strokes, and he had the edge in the longer exchanges to come as a deserved winner.

It was a good start from both youngsters, with 7 good holds in the first 8 games, and Denis bypassed the break points in game 5 as well, despite 5 deuces. The 9th game proved to be crucial, as Zverev got the only break he needed to take the opener by 6-4.

Sascha earned the break point after amazing backhand cross court winner and Denis double faulted to give his serve away. He produced another good hold in game 10 to grab the set, losing just 6 points on serve and moving a set away from yet another final.

Things became even worse for Shapovalov when he double faulted again at the start of the second set to lose his serve instantly, but this time he got it back right away, leveling the score at 1-1 when Zverev hit the forehand long.

One of the key moments of the second set occurred in the 8th game, when Sascha faced 0-40 on serve, playing against 3 break points. He saved them with 2 service winners and another good attack, blasting 2 more service winners to close the game and make the score even at 4-4.

Shapovalov sealed his faith in game 11 with back-to-back double faults, and Zverev only had to serve for the win in the following game. Nevertheless, it was far from easy, as that game turned to be the longest of the match, with 3 break points for Shapovalov and 3 match points for German! Denis missed an open forehand on his second break point and he never got another chance, as Zverev fends off the last break point with a service winner.

German finally sealed the deal when Denis missed a backhand, and he could celebrate another big ATP final under his belt. Semi-final result:

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ALSO READ: ATP Montreal: Roger Federer beats Robin Haase to reach 45th Masters final

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