Following a slow start of the season in Auckland, Denis Shapovalov reached the third round at the Australian Open where he managed to take a set away from Novak Djokovic before finishing his run against the much stronger rival.
With no time for rest, Denis traveled to Slovakia where he scored two wins for Canada on clay, helping his country to reach Davis Cup finals in November. The youngster asked for a wild card in Montpellier, entering the draw as the 3rd seed and scoring the second round win on Thursday against Marcel Granollers, prevailing against the Spaniard 6-4, 7-6 to reach the quarters.
Shapovalov never faced a break point, losing nine points behind the initial shot and waiting for a chance on the return patiently. The pressure was entirely on Granollers and he dealt with it nicely, facing just two break points and suffering one break in the closing stages of the opening set.
A teenager lost just four points on serve in the opening set and he had to wait until the tenth game to create the first chances on the return, but only after three game points that Granollers wasted. The second set point proved to be crucial, with Shapovalov who placed a forehand down the line return winner for a 6-4 and a massive boost before the second set.
Nothing could separate them in 12 games, with no deuces or break points, and it was Denis who had the edge in the tie break, scoring three mini-breaks and sealing the deal with a backhand crosscourt winner to avoid the third set and make the winning start.
"It is never easy to make a transition from clay to hard in a few days but luckily I had a chance to play doubles with my good friend Hugo Nys. I played a really good match today, I think we were both serving well, it was tough to get the rhythm and I'm very happy how I managed to play in the end.
At the end of the day, it is all about having fun on the court, it is a dream to be coming to places like France or playing tournaments all over the world, something I grew up wanting to do all my life. Every match is an honor for me, I'm just enjoying my time.
I'm ready for the battle in the next round, I know both rivals and it will not be easy whoever wins and join me in the quarters. I'm glad I can get some rest now and watch them play, we will see what will happen tomorrow.
I had a chance to went downtown here in Montpellier, I'm very happy to be here. I heard a lot of nice words about the town and I'm grateful for receiving a wild card. Hopefully, I can make the most of it."