Denis Shapovalov has become the first Canadian to reach the quarter-finals in men’s singles at the U.S. Open following a four-set triumph over No. 7 seed David Goffin of Belgium on Sunday.
The 12th-seeded Shapovalov toppled Goffin: 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round of the Grand Slam tournament to move on.
He will face No. 20 seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the quarters. The Spaniard got into the final eight when No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic was defaulted — the tennis equivalent of an ejection — from their fourth-round match after he unintentionally hit a line judge with a tennis ball.
Shapovalov was broken only once and it came in the fourth set, while converting five break points against his opponent.
He fired 13 aces and 52 winners. Shapovalov gave up the first set on a tiebreaker before taking the next three.
He broke Goffin for the first time on his sixth opportunity, with some help, as the Belgian double faulted to give the Canadian a 3-1 lead and an opportunity to even things in the second set.
The 21-year-old left-hander broke Goffin a second time in the opening match of the third set, then held serve to go up 2-0 and cruised from there for a 2-1 advantage.
Shapovalov converted his third break point to make it 2-1 in the fourth set, and Goffin couldn’t hold serve with the Canadian breaking him a fourth time to go up 4-1.
Shapovalov, ranked No. 17 but seeded 12th at the Grand Slam tournament that’s missing some top stars, came into the match 0-1 against 29-year-old Goffin in his career. The previous loss came last year on a hardcourt ATP 500 event in Tokyo.
Djokovic’s departure means there is no man left in the field who has won a Grand Slam singles title. Whoever emerges as champion will be the first first-time major trophy winner in men’s tennis since 2014, when Marin Cilic acquired the U.S. Open. Plus, a member of the Big Three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic had won each of the last 13 Grand Slam trophies.
“This is definitely not the way we wanted to have a new Grand Slam champion,” Shapovalov said, before noting: “It’s been getting pretty boring with these three guys winning every tournament.”