Denis Shapovalov continues his delicate transition from hard courts to clay, finishing qualifier Pedro Martinez’s four-match series in consecutive sets at International BNL de Italia on Thursday. The 12th seed advanced to the third round 6-4, 6-4.
At the first ATP Head 2 Head Meeting between the pair, three breaks were traded before the Canadian picked up the opening set. The Spaniard – who beat Sam Querrey for his first ATP Masters 1000 match win on Monday – took a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Shapovalov soon revealed a gap of 95 places in the FedEx ATP rankings. Last games.
“Actually it’s very tough,” Shapovalov said. “Especially after Grandslam, your body naturally wants to relax. Going into a match here is definitely a little difficult, but I’m really happy with the way I can maintain my level and be physically manageable. ”
He won only 57 percent of his first serve points for the match, closing the third round berth in one round and 42 minutes. The 21-year-old will face Italian No. 7 seed Fabio Fogni or Frenchman Ugo Humbert for a place in the quarterfinals.
Shapovalov arrives in Rome with his first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance at the US Open. Counting for Argentine Guido Pella in the opening round, he showed no signs of slowing down in back-to-back straight-sets victories and struggling to adapt to clay-court conditions.
“I definitely have some tough matches, for sure,” he said. “I hope I keep doing the same thing I’m doing, because I’ll feel against these clay-court players in the last two rounds. It’s really good that it worked.”