Next Gen star Denis Shapovalov advanced to the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach Open on Thursday, coming back from one set down to defeat American Jared Donaldson in three sets. It was the first time Shapovalov has won consecutive matches since reaching the Round of 16 at the US Open last year.
For the second straight match, the Canadian crowd was large in Delray Beach, playing their part in helping Shapovalov reach the quarterfinals. After the match, Shapovalov credited the crowd saying, “Once again you guys carried me after a slow start.”
It was the first meeting between the two players, though you’d have to assume both NextGen players will play their fair share of matches against each other in the coming years. Both players started off slow exchanging breaks in the early stages of the match before Donaldson closed out the first set with an ace to take the tiebreaker 7-6(6).
You can’t help but notice how mature Shapovalov’s game is at just 18 years of age. He seems to up his game when he needs to including today when he broke Donaldson to take a 5-4 before serving out the win. After the match, Shapovalov said, “Last year I had a lot of matches under my belt. In Montreal almost all of my matches we’re three sets so I’ve been in this position before coming up with a lot of W’s in late third sets, it’s definitely been a big confidence booster for me, and getting a little momentum.”
Shapovalov will face another NextGen star, Taylor Fritz, in the quarterfinals. The two faced each four years ago in South Florida as well at the Orange Bowl, where Fritz defeated Shapovalov, but Friday will be their first meeting as pros. Shapovalov was complimentary of Fritz saying, “He plays aggressive and makes a lot.”