Young guns collide - Denis Shapovalov tops Taylor Fritz in their first duel

Two young rivals battled in the 2018 Delray Beach quarter-final

by Jovica Ilic
Young guns collide - Denis Shapovalov tops Taylor Fritz in their first duel
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Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz were the upcoming youngsters at the beginning of 2018. The Canadian and the American met on the Tour for the first time in the Delray Beach quarter-final, with Denis earning a 7-5, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 17 minutes for his second ATP semi-final.

Denis had a great run in 2017, becoming the youngest Masters 1000 semi-finalist and cracking the top-50 as the third-youngest player since 1993. Shapovalov and Fritz battled in the 2014 Orange Bowl, and the much more critical duel came three years later in Delray Beach.

It was a fast and fluid match between two fine ball strikers, with deuces in just two games and two break points on both sides. Denis denied both and seized his opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets. They stayed neck and neck in service winners, unforced and forced errors.

Shapovalov hit five double faults more than Fritz, erasing that deficit in the winners from the field and earning the victory in that segment.

Denis Shapovalov defeated Taylor Fritz in the 2018 Delray Beach QF.

Denis fired 18 winners from the court and reduced Taylor to six.

They blasted 25 service winners each, completing 42% of the points without a rally! As we already said, the Canadian landed thrice as many winners while taming his strokes nicely. Shapovalov sprayed nine unforced errors, and Fritz added 11.

Tables turned in the forced mistakes, with nine for Denis and seven for Taylor. One of Shapovalov's double faults could have been costly, hitting it in the second set's eighth game and offering Fritz the only two break chances.

The younger player denied them with booming serves and held with another, keeping his initial shot intact. Long and demanding exchanges stayed away from this encounter. They wrapped up 90 out of 119 points (75%) in the shortest range up to four strokes, producing bold tennis and attacking immediately.

Taylor forged a slim 47-43 advantage, which was not enough to keep him safe. Denis took charge in the more advanced rallies, bringing the victory home in that area. Shapovalov claimed 13 out of 20 points with five to eight shots and led 7-2 in the most extended ones.

The Canadian clinched 20 of the 29 most prolonged rallies, controlling his strokes nicely and securing the victory with two breaks of serve. The servers dropped only 12 points in the opening ten games, locking the result at 5-5.

Shapovalov broke at 15 for 6-5 and closed the set on his serve a few minutes later. Taylor dropped three points in a row in the second set's seventh game, falling 4-3 behind and squandering two break points in the next one after Denis' booming serves.

The Canadian served for the victory at 5-4 and held at 15 to emerge at the top and reach his second ATP semi-final.

Denis Shapovalov Taylor Fritz