Challenger Tour: Denis Shapovalov ensures two teenage sensations will take part in the Drummondville quarter-finals - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Denis Shapovalov ensures two teenage sensations will take part in the Drummondville quarter-finals

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Shapovalov recorded the biggest win of his career against Austin Krajicek in Drummondville (Image via itf.com)

Denis Shapovalov is sixteen years old, a Canadian who resides in Ontario, Canada. He registered the biggest win of his career on Thursday in the Drummondville Challenger, defeating second seed Austin Krajicek 6-3, 7-5.

 

Ranked 775 in the world, few would have given the Canadian a chance against Krajicek, who isn’t far removed from the Top 100, ranked at 101. His win over former junior No.1 Filip Peliwo would have raised few eyebrows, as the former junior star has yet to translate his impressive junior career to the professional circuit Yet the teenager, who stands at 6’0, produced a dominating display to oust the American. Shapovalov dropped just a single point on his first serve, dropping eight points on serve in the entire match, with half of those points double-faults. Krajicek offered three break points in the match and Shapovalov broke twice to win in straight sets. Shapovalov is the reigning Junior US Open Doubles Champion, having partnered Felix-Auger Aliassime to victory in Flushing Meadows in 2015.

Philip Bester joined his compatriot in the quarter-finals, as he followed up his win over Tommy Paul with a 6-3, 7-6 win against Roberto Oterga-Olmedo. Bester broke once from nine opportunities and saved all four break points he faced. Renzo Olivo was the highest-placed seed to emerge from early second round play unscathed, as he defeated Yannick Reuter 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and thirty-one minutes. The match featured eight breaks, and Olivo ensured that five were in his favour to ensure that he will entertain Shapovalov in the quarter-finals.

Frank Dancevic, who accounted for top seed Yuichi Sugita in the first round, plays qualifier Nicolas Jarry in the last remaining second round match. Edward Corrie awaits the winner of that match in the top quarter.

Peter Polansky will play the second teenage sensation in Drummondville, Tim Van Rijthoven on Friday, with Philip Bester also playing fourth seed Dan Evans.

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Belinda Bencic, Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza lead the field at the Shenzhen Open

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World number 8 Belinda Bencic and defending champion Aryna Sabalenka lead the field at next January’s Shenzhen Open. The line-up also features two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza and Chinese World Number 1 player Wang Qiang.

 

Belinda Bencic started the year outside the top 50 and produced a remarkable 2019 season in which she reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open and won two titles in Dubai and Moscow. The Swiss player qualified for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, where she beat Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens to reach the semifinals on her debut at the year-end tournament before losing to Elina Svitolina.

Bencic will return to Shenzhen to play in the tournament, which is traditionally held in the first week of January.

The 22-year-old player will take on world number 11 Aryna Sabalenka, two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, 2017 Shenzhen champion Ekaterina Siniakova, world number 17 Elise Mertens, US Open quarter finalist Wang Qiang, Wimbledon quarter finalist Zhang Shuai, San José champion Zhang Saisai, Acapulco champion Wang Yafan and 2014 Shenzhen finalist Peng Shuai. The line up is completed by 20-year-old player Elena Rybakina, who won the Bucharest and improved his ranking from world number 131 to world number 37.

The list of past winners of the Shenzhen Open features two-time Grand Slam champions Li Na and Simona Halep. Li Na won the Shenzhen title in 2014 and went on to win the Australian Open title three weeks later. Halep followed up her Shenzhen Open title in 2018 with two Grand Slam triumphs at Roland Garros 2018 and Wimbledon 2019. This year Sabalenka won all her three titles on Chinese soil in Shenzhen, Wuhan and at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.

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Denis Shapovalov: “Playing as part of a team is much fun”

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World number 15 Denis Shapovalov will start his 2020 season at the first edition of the ATP Cup to be held in Australia from 3 to 12 January 2020. The young Canadian star talked to the ATP Website about the importance of playing a team tournament at the start of the season and the reason why enjoys playing with his teammates.

 

Canada has been drawn in the Group F with Greece and home team Australia. The Canadian team will be represented by Shapovalov, Felix Auger Aliassime, Steven Diez, Peter Polansky and Adil Shamasdin.

Shapovalov enjoyed a successful 2020 season, in which he won the first ATP Tour title of his career in Stockolm and reached his first Masters 1000 final in Paris Bercy and the semifinal at the Masters 1000 in Miami. He achieved career-high number 15 on 4 November.

In the 2019 Davis Cup held at the Caja Magica in Madrid Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil teamed up to take Canada to its first-ever Davis Cup final. Canada beat Italy, the United States in the round robin, Australia and Russia en route to the final before losing to Spain in the title match.

“Playing as part of a team is so much fun. From the moment I picked up a raquet, I was always watching team events like this. I have always wanted to represent my country. Any time you get to have that bond and represent your country is awesome. You get to bond with the other guys, as well as the teams from other countries”, said Shapovalov to the ATP Tour Website.

 Shapovalov looked back to his past memories of the Junior Davis Cup in 2015, when he teamed up with Felix Auger Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin

 “The biggest memory was winning Junior Davis Cup with Felix Auger Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin in 2015. We were going through it in the locker room, saying how great it was and how we put our hearts on the line the whole week. We were hoping that one day we could do ita t the pro level. It’s been an unbelievable ride”.

The Canadian Next Gen star admired his countryman Vasek Pospisil as idol when he was growing up.

 “I watched Vasek a lot. I really liked the way he was on court and how it seemed like he was always enjoying himself. He was always really committed to Canada. He is a guy that I look up to and aspire to be one day”, said Pospisil.  

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