Rafael Nadal: 'He shows commitment to the sport and demonstrates...'

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Rafael Nadal: 'He shows commitment to the sport and demonstrates...'

Is this the year Denis Shapovalov will break through at the St. Petersburg Open? The Canadian, who reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals in his first two appearances at the event, got off to a slow start on Wednesday. But the southpaw rallied to defeat Spanish Pablo Andujar 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for a spot in the knockout stages.

“It's definitely very difficult to face Pablo [in my] first round of a tournament. He is a great player and it was a difficult start to the match, "Shapovalov said in his interview on the court." I didn't feel so good, but I told myself that I should move on.

"Obviously there was a lot of tennis to play, so I wanted to change things in the second set and I did a very good job." In the deciding set, the second seed won 72 percent of his return points to finish well and triumph after one hour and 49 minutes.

The Spanish tennis player managed to break his rival's serve twice, while the Canadian player, on his part, did it 4 times. In addition, Shapovalov had a 56% first serve and committed 8 double faults, managing to win 64% of the service points, while his opponent had a 63% first service and 4 double faults, managing to win 53% of the serve points.

In the quarterfinals, the Canadian player will play against the winner of the match between Kazakh Alexander Bublik and German player Jan-Lennard Struff. The Canadian is chasing his second ATP Tour title and the first since his first win in Stockholm in 2019.

Former world no.1 and 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal, who is currently in rehab after a foot injury forced him stay out of contention post Citi Open this year, extended his support for Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema.

Rafa Nadal is currently in rehab

The race for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award is heating up and tennis legend Rafael Nadal has backed Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema for the award. Nadal, in his tweet, said: "He has my admiration as a player, he shows commitment to the sport and demonstrates professionalism at his age.

Good luck Benzema and you have my support for the 2021 Ballon d'Or." Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski have both had some incredible achievements this year. The 6-time Ballon d'Or winner finally won an international trophy with Argentina this summer, playing a starring role in the tournament.