• January 28, 2022

Shapovalov sets up Wimbledon semis clash with Djokovic

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is through to his first Grand Slam semifinal after posting a 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Russia’s Karen Khachanov on Wednesday at Wimbledon.

Shapovalov, seeded 10th at the All England Club, fired 17 aces in the match and won 86 per cent of first-serve points, which helped lessen the impact of his 10 double faults.

Later Wednesday, Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime missed an opportunity to join Shapovalov in the final four after a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 loss to No. 7 Matteo Berrettini of Italy.

The 22-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., hit 59 winners to Khachanov’s 31 and converted five of his 19 break-point chances in the match at No. 1 Court that took nearly 3 1/2 hours to complete.

The last break came at 4-4 in the fifth set.

Shapovalov converted his fourth break chance in that game when Khachanov sent a forehand long.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match against Karen,” Shapovalov said. “We played once before and it was really physical and difficult. I knew he was playing well going into [the match] and honestly I felt he was outplaying me for most of the match.

“Everything was going his way, so in the fourth set I tried to step in a little bit and play more aggressively. I felt he got a little bit tired in the fourth set and I also stepped up.”

Shapovalov won 15-of-16 first serve points in the decisive fifth set and didn’t face a break point.

“I know, going into the fifth set, I’ve got to leave everything I have on the court for every single point that I play,” he said. “I really felt like I was in on every single return and every single shot, and that’s the difference I made.

“I think my game just elevated, and it’s something to be super proud of myself for.”

Shapovalov’s previous best performance at a Grand Slam was at least year’s U.S. Open, where he reached the quarter-finals.

Shapovalov faces top seed Novak Djokovic in the semifinals on Friday.

“He’s the best player in the world but anything is possible,” Shapovalov said in his post-match interview.

“When you look at the scoreboard first thing on Friday it’s going to be 0-0. Nothing else matters.” Djokovic has won all six of his previous meetings with Shapovalov, most recently posting a 7-5, 7-5 triumph in the round robin of the ATP Cup at Melbourne, Australia back in January.

Steve Carr

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