16-year-old Denis Shapovalov wins his first title in USA F5 Futures- View: 4583 by Jovica Ilic
Left-handed Canadian Denis Shapovalov stunned the whole field of USA F5 Futures in Weston, Florida, by taking the title at just 16 years and 9 months. He scored his first ATP point in home Futures back in July and showed his abilities by reaching the semi-final of USA F33 Futures in November, also in Florida on clay.
Even at an early age, when he was around 8 or 9, it was clear how talented Denis is, with strong and constant groundstrokes and great movement. Also, admirers of old school tennis will love the fact that he plays a one-handed backhand.
Since 2013, Tel Aviv native played only a few junior events of his age rank, competing instead with much older guys in B18 events. He had a lot of success right from the start, taking few titles in 2013 and 2014. Since 2015 Denis was concentrated on biggest events, reaching 3rd round at Wimbledon and winning B18 G1 USTA International Hard Court, beating another talented Canadian in the final, Felix Auger-Aliassime.
After that he qualified for that Futures in November where he made semi-final, finishing the season at Orange Bowl where Tsitsipas stopped him in the 3rd round. Shapovalov decided not to go to Australia to play junior events, staying in the USA instead for more Futures.
He managed to get through tough qualifications 3 weeks in a row, winning 4 matches just to make the main draw, and it was here in Weston that he proved to everyone how much can we expect from him in the years to come. He played 9 matches in 8 or 9 days and won all of them in straight sets.
Denis was especially good in those 5 matches of the main draw, letting his opponents to win more than 3 games just two times! Today in the final teenager beat Pedro Sakamoto from Brazil after some troubles in the first set, by 7-6 6-3.
Rain causes some troubles to organizers, and after no matches played on Thursday, Denis played first and second round matches on Friday. He needed some 2 hours in total to beat Junior Alexander Ore and once a promising Jason Kubler.
Two more challenges awaited on Saturday, when Shapovalov scored convincing wins over other qualifiers, Mateo Nicolas Martinez and Jaume Pla Malfeito, losing only 4 games in total! It was crucial for 16-year-old to win those matches by wasting not too many time on the court and he done exactly that, being ready for Sunday's final.
He beat Sakamoto in 71 minutes, with 8 aces and 80% of points won behind the first serve. He put Pedro on constant pressure when Brazilian was missing first serve, taking 12 out of 15 points on second serve return. At the age of 16 years, 9 months and 17 days, Denis Shapovalov became one of the 20 youngest winners of Futures title since 1998, joining the names like Gasquet, Ancic, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray or del Potro.
Also, in the last few seasons, a lot of players managed to do the same, like Rublev and Coric in 2013, Lee, Safiullin and Mmoh in 2014, or Mikael Ymer in 2015. Denis writes history in a certain way, as this is the first professional title for players born in 1999! ALSO READ: Novak Djokovic: ´I´m in a good position to equal Federer´s Slam titles, but I stay humble´ .