After US Open Run, Denis Shapovalov Piling Up More Wins at Italian Open

Denis Shapovalov  (Photo Credit: AP)

Denis Shapovalov (Photo Credit: AP)

Denis Shapovalov spent more than 22 hours on court over the previous two weeks at the US Open, where he reached the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles.

From singles to doubles, hard courts to clay courts, North America to Europe, Denis Shapovalov just keeps playing and, for the most part, winning.

After spending more than 22 hours on court over the previous two weeks at the U.S. Open, where he reached the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles, Shapovalov is still going string after crossing the Atlantic.

The Canadian recovered from an early break in the second set to beat Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez 6-4, 6-4 Thursday and reach the third round of the Italian Open.

A few hours later, Shapo was back on court for doubles and teamed with Rohan Bopanna to knock out the top-seeded duo of Juan Sebestian Cabal and Robert Farah.

Luckily, Im still 21 years old, Shapovalov said. Its been a lot of tennis. For sure Im feeling it physically, no question about it. But Im getting good treatment every day. Im just pushing through it.

Its very tough, especially after the Grand Slam. Your body just kind of naturally wants to relax. … But Im really happy with the way I have been able to maintain my level and maintain physically.

Shapovalov will continue playing singles and doubles at the French Open, which starts in 10 days.

Shapovalov also won his opening singles match in Rome in straight sets, over Argentine clay-courter Guido Pella.

Im a hard-court player, so its definitely not easy matchups for me, Shapovalov said. Im really happy to be through and really happy with the way my game has transitioned from the hard courts to the clay courts.

Known for his attacking game and stylish shot-making, the 14th-ranked Shapovalov worked on adding more patience to his repertoire with new coach Mikhail Youzhny during the five-month break for the coronavirus pandemic.

Obviously I like to pull the trigger and go for my shots as early as possible, Shapovalov said. We had a lot of time to really build up the game.

Shapovalov was the first player to reach the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles at the U.S. Open since Youzhny achieved the feat 14 years earlier.

Hes really trying to make me more of all-rounded and smarter player, Shapovalov said of his coach.

Also at the Foro Italico, which is devoid of fans this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Dusan Lajovic defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2 and will next face nine-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal.

In the womens tournament, ninth-seeded Garbie Muguruza eliminated 16-year-old Coco Gauff 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 in an error-strewn match that included 24 double-faults nine from Muguruza and a whopping 15 from Gauff, who was playing her first pro tournament on clay.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova rallied past 14th-seeded Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and will next face two-time Rome champion Elina Svitolina, last years French Open runner-up Markta Vondrouov beat Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus 6-3, 6-3, and Yulia Putintseva ousted eighth-seeded Petra Martic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4.

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