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US Open: Shapovalov, Mahut, Marterer, Smith and King reach the main draw

US Open: Shapovalov, Mahut, Marterer, Smith and King reach the main draw

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by Jovica Ilic

The final qualifying round for the last Grand Slam of the season at the US Open brought some interesting matches, and we got the last 16 players that earned the place in the main draw. An 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov is the youngest among them, continuing his dream run that he started at home Challenger in Gatineau a month ago.

After Wimbledon, Denis will have a chance to make a US Open debut as well, following a 6-7 6-1 6-3 triumph over Jan Satral. Young Canadian had a chance to score an easier win, leading 5-3 in the opener, but in the end, he got his win in a harder way, dominating in sets 2 and 3.

He faced 4 break points, losing serve 3 times, and he won 44% of the return points, creating 14 break chances and stealing Satral's serve 5 times. The first break of the match occurred in that 8th game when Denis broke at love, and he wasted 4 set points on serve in the following game, allowing Jan to break back and prolong the set.

Czech saved another pair of break points in game 12 to reach the tie break, which he won 7-2, scoring 4 mini-breaks and gathering a huge momentum before the rest of the match. Shapovalov managed to leave these wasted chances behind him and he stormed over the second set, clinching it by 6-1 after playing well on both serve and return.

He lost just 3 points on serve and broke Satral 3 times for a commanding 6-1, starting the decider as the favorite. There, he had to save a break point in the opening game and he never faced troubles on serve ever since, keeping the pressure on his rival.

Satral fought well but he got broken in game 6 to fall 4-2 behind, and that was the pivotal moment of the match, as Denis delivered a win with 2 good holds after that. John-Patrick Smith took down Mitchell Krueger by 6-4 6-4 for his 4th Grand Slam main draw appearance, the first since US Open 2015 when he also had to qualify. Smith's serve was the most powerful shot of the day, he faced just 2 break points and lost serve once, winning 43% of the return points to take Krueger's serve on 3 occasions.

The Aussie found a great rhythm on his serve right from the start, dropping 4 points in 5 service games, and he was waiting for a chance on the return patiently. It appeared in game 5 when he moved 3-2 in front, and that was all he needed to bring the set home.

Mitchell did save 2 set points in game 9 on own serve but John-Patrick clinched the opener with a hold at love a few minutes later. It was all about Smith at the start of the second set, he broke his rival in games 1 and 5 for a 4-1 lead, looking good to seal the deal soon after that.

In game 6 he wasted 5 game points to eventually lose his serve, giving the American at least some kind of hope. Nonetheless, that was the last break of the match and Smith propelled himself into the main draw with a solid hold in game 10, getting another opportunity to score his first Grand Slam triumph at the age of 28.

25-year-old Stefano Travaglia will play in back-to-back Grand Slam events after a 6-3 6-3 triumph over Peter Gojowczyk in just over an hour. Both players struggled to find the first serve throughout the match and it was Travaglia who was much more effective on his second serve.

Also, he prevailed in the most important points, saving 4 out of 6 break points and stealing rival's serve 4 times from 5 chances to earn the place in the main draw. Stefano broke at love in game 5 and he saved 2 break points in the following game to create a 4-2 gap.

He closed the set in style, taking the final 8 points for a 6-3, and that gave him a nice momentum before the set number 2. Gojowczyk made too many errors in those games and he found himself 3-0 down in the second set as well, dropping 5 straight games and facing a mountain to climb if he wanted to get back on the scoreboard.

He did pull the break back in game 5 to return to the positive side of the scoreboard but that didn't last for long, as Travaglia broke him in game 6 to gain the lead again. Stefano held after 2 deuces in game 7 and he sealed the deal on own serve in game 9, with a hold at 15.

Final qualifying round results:

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