Russian Andrey Rublev rallied to beat Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (7) in a tough third-round men’s singles match Saturday at the U.S. Open.
Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., had 23 aces and 76 winners in the match, which lasted four hours seven minutes. But he also registered 72 unforced errors, compared to 38 for the ninth-seeded Rublev, who finished with nine aces and 38 winners.
And while both players recorded four service breaks, Rublev did so in half as many chances as Shapovalov (nine compared to 17). Shapovalov went into the match as the last remaining Canadian in singles at the Grand Slam event.
Rublev broke Shapovalov for the fourth time to go ahead 5-4 in the fifth set but the Canadian, after saving three match points, registered his fourth service break to make it 5-5. The two then held serve to force the deciding tiebreaker.
After falling behind 3-0, Shapovalov came back to make it 3-3. Rublev went ahead 5-3 with the Canadian again coming back to make it 5-4.
Rublev went ahead 8-4 and Shapovalov fought back to make it 8-6. And he did pull to within 9-7 but that’s as close as Shapovalov would get.
Rublev and Shapovalov remained on serve through the opening nine games of the first set before Rublev converted his first break attempt to secure the 6-4 victory. Shapovalov struggled with his first serve (39 per cent) and failed to convert either of his two break points.
But the Canadian returned the favour in the second set, recording a pair of break points en route to a commanding 5-1 advantage. After Rublev held serve, Shapovalov then did so for a 6-2 win to tie the match.
The Canadian improved his first serve to 51 per cent entering the third set while having recorded seven aces compared to just one for Rublev.
The two went back to holding serve through the first six games of the third set to force the tiebreaker. But the Canadian had the better of it, securing the 7-3 victory for the 2-1 advantage.
But Rublev forced a fifth and deciding set by taking the fourth 6-4. And while Shapovalov had fired 18 aces to that point — Rublev had five — the Canadian was only at 52 per cent on his first serve (Rublev was at 60 per cent) and both players had registered three breaks, although Shapovalov had double the opportunities (14 to seven).
BASELINES: Earlier in the day, Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., and her partner Daria Saville of Russia, lost their second-round women’s doubles match 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-7(10) to Bernarda Pera of Croatia and Dalma Galfia of Hungary. … Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa is now the last Canadian standing at the U-S Open in New York. She and women’s doubles partner Giuliana Olmos will play in Sunday’s Round of 16 against Californians Ena Shibahara and Asia Muhammad.