Shapovalov

Five of the Best: ‘Coming of Age’ Matches in North America

The North America hard court swing is well underway as we prepare for a packed August of action on the ATP Tour.

Over the next fortnight we will be bringing you two Masters 1000s: the Rogers Cup in Montreal followed by the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. With two of the Big Three – Federer and Djokovic – missing in Montreal, perhaps this is a golden opportunity for the young guns to finally steal a march on the game’s greats. After all, both tournaments have been rich ground for inspired upsets in the past…

We take a look back on some of the chasing pack’s ‘coming of age’ performances in North America.

Denis Shapovalov v Rafael Nadal (Rogers Cup 2017 – R3)
Then World No. 143 Denis Shapovalov secured victory over his boyhood idol Rafael Nadal in a thrilling third set tiebreak. The three-time Rogers Cup champion fought hard but was simply overwhelmed by Shapovalov’s fierce baseline hitting; the Montreal crowd were in raptures. Two years on from that night, can Shapovalov rediscover that Montreal magic?

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Stefanos Tsitsipas v Novak Djokovic (Rogers Cup 2018 – R3)
At the start of August 2017, Stefanos Tsitsipas did not have a single Tour-level win to his name. Twelve months later, he delivered this stunning upset over a resurgent Novak Djokovic. This was one of just three matches the Serb lost in 2018 after securing the Wimbledon title. But Tsitsipas dominated with a clinic in all-court tennis.

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Nick Kyrgios v Rafael Nadal (Cincinnati 2017 – QF)
Just seven hours after edging past Ivo Karlovic in a three-set epic, Nick Kyrgios put in one of the best performances of his career. This was the Aussie at his most creative, ingenious and cheeky. Keep an eye out for the half volley return winner!

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Alexander Zverev v Roger Federer (Rogers Cup 2017 – Final)
Zverev had something to prove after his 6-1 6-3 schooling at the hands of Federer in Halle and here he beat the Swiss at his own game. The 20-year-old played with wonderful variety and angle, before staving off a Federer resurgence early in the second set with some jaw-dropping counterpunching. Zverev became the youngest winner of the Coupe Rogers since Djokovic in 2007 and the first player outside the ‘Big Four’ to win multiple Masters 1000 titles in a season since David Nalbandian a decade ago.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime v Lucas Pouille (Rogers Cup 2018 – R1)
This was where the magic all began for the 19-year-old. Auger-Aliassime had enjoyed two tour-level victories in July but this was his announcement on the world stage as he dismissed World No.18 Pouille in less than 80 minutes. He arrives at this year’s tournament seven spots above the Frenchman after a meteoric rise this year. Will Auger-Aliassime be inspired to even greater things in front of a home crowd?

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