World no. 22 Denis Shapovalov has ended the losing streak that lasted since Miami, defeating Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 35 minutes for the 14th win of the season. Two years ago at the US Open, Carreno Busta prevailed in three tie breaks but he is miles from that form after an injury that has been bothering him since February and sent him out from the top-40, not playing at his best today as well.
The Canadian hit 26 winners and 26 unforced errors, having the upper hand in the quickest and mid-range exchanges to forge the advantage and mount pressure on the other side of the net, never facing a break point. He had 12 opportunities to grab a break and notch more comfortable triumph but Pablo did well to repel 11 of those, suffering just one break and staying in touch until the second set tie break when Shapovalov crossed the finish line to advance into the second round.
The Spaniard saved two break points in game two before Denis grabbed a break with a forehand crosscourt winner next time around for a 3-1 lead. The Canadian closed the opener with a service winner in game nine for a 6-3 and had numerous chances to move in front in set number two as well, creating eight break points and wasting them all to keep Carreno Busta in contention until the tie break.
There, Shapovalov won three straight points from 5-4 down, sealing the deal after a terrible backhand error from Pablo at 6-5 to propel into the second round. The 13th seed Borna Coric took down Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 29 minutes, playing against only one break point and controlling the scoreboard in sets two and three to notch the 45th Masters 1000 triumph.
"I felt good on the court today, I had better preparation here in Rome than last year, it was great to be on the court a couple of days earlier and get used to conditions. The conditions are slower than in Madrid but I managed to make a good start, playing on fire and staying untroubled throughout the match, especially on my serve.
I had chances in the second set to break him, couldn't convert any but stayed patient, knowing I would have the upper hand in the tie break because I was serving so well. The game was on my racquet and I'm happy with the win.
Hawk-eye system on clay is one thing I'm trying to push forward because I feel there are too many close and controversial calls from day to day in almost every match. When I made the tweet, it was in no intention towards the referees, they are allowed to make mistakes, they are humans just like us but I feel there's got to be a better way to allow the players to challenge the calls.
It usually happens on the bigger points when you go for something riskier, it is either in or out and I think there are a lot of matches where the Hawk-eye is not accurate, there are other ways in Fox ten or other systems.
I want to say that our technology is so advanced and we can come up with the way to get a challenge system on clay, it is essential for those tough calls that are hard to judge. You need the system to kinda have justice, to be sure about the calls.
I think that's something in the game that should be brought up, I don't know why it hasn't yet but if a lot of players keep pushing that those companies will find the way to make it happen."