Ranked 14th in singles and 45th in doubles, the 21-year-old Denis Shapovalov has mastered both categories at such a young age. The Canadian reached the first Major quarter-final at the US Open in singles and doubles (with Rohan Bopanna), battling hard against Pablo Carreno Busta but falling in five sets in the battle for the semi-final.
Making a quick transition to clay, Shapovalov has had a busy schedule again, losing the doubles quarter-final with Bopanna against Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the match tie break and advancing into the quarter-final in singles.
Speaking about his packed schedule, Denis said he feels a bit tired, although he still has enough strength to give 100% in Rome on his least favorite surface. Praising his coach Mikhail Youzhny, the Canadian revealed they worked hard during the pandemic, trying to make him more patient and smarter on the court.
In Rome's second round, Denis defeated the Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes. Shapovalov served at 49%, suffering two breaks and delivering four to move over the top in straight sets. The Canadian had a slim edge in the shortest and most extended rallies, bouncing back from 3-0 down in the second set to rattle off six of the final seven games and celebrate the win.
Martinez netted a drop shot in the third game to get broken, pulling the break back a few minutes later after a forehand error from the Canadian for 2-2. Leaving that game behind him, Denis secured a break to move 3-2 up, fending off a break chance with a service winner to cement the lead and firing a service winner for a 5-3 advantage.
Denis Shapovalov spoke about his singles and doubles results.
Pedro forced an error from Denis to claim the ninth game before the Canadian wrapped up the set with a hold at 30. The Spaniard broke at love in the second game of the second set, forging a 3-0 gap before Shapovalov broke back in game five to return to the positive side of the scoreboard.
Denis held with a volley winner in game eight, earning a break that pushed him in front and sealing the deal on his third match point in the tenth game to set the encounter against Ugo Humbert. "I'm 21, and the body is young.
I have the strength to play both singles and doubles. It wasn't easy to follow that pace in New York, and I have some struggles here in Rome too; I have played a lot of matches recently. I'm feeling it physically, but I'm just pushing through it.
I'm happy with how I have maintained my level and will compete in both singles and doubles at Roland Garros. My game works better on hard court but I have made a nice transition to clay, trying to remain aggressive. On clay, I have more time to defend and settle for my shots; I'm trying to stay patient, and it works well.
During the pandemic, I had enough time to build my game with my coach Mikhail Youzhny. He is trying to make me a smarter player. I have been more patient, and the results are here," Denis Shapovalov said.