Denis Shapovalov becomes first Canadian to reach US Open quarterfinals

Denis Shapovalov serves during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships in New York yesterday. (AP pic)

NEW YORK: Denis Shapovalov regrouped after losing a terrible first set tie-break to beat David Goffin 6-7(0) 6-3 6-4 6-3 on Sunday and become the first Canadian man to reach the US Open quarterfinals in the Open era.

Shapovalov will next face Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarterfinals after the 20th seed was awarded his fourth round match against Novak Djokovic by default when the world No 1 hit a line judge with a ball.

It will be Shapovalov’s first Grand Slam quarter-final and could lead the way for a Canadian charge into the last eight with compatriots Vasek Pospisil and Felix Auger-Aliassime playing their fourth round clashes on Monday.

“It’s pretty crazy how far I’ve come,” said Shapovalov, who got “goosebumps” when told of his achievement.

“Today was an extremely tough match, I had to play every single point against him and match his stability, his calmness.”

Goffin made a strong start to the match then ran away with the first set tie-break 7-0 and Shapovalov said he used the time between sets to regroup.

The Canadian rallied in the second set behind a powerful serve and strong forehand, and the momentum swung in his favour when he broke for the first time in the fourth game.

The 12th seed took what opportunities came his way in the third set and fought off Goffin’s only break opportunity in the eighth game with his 11th ace.

He raced to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set but surprisingly failed to serve out while leading 5-2 as Goffin got his first break of the match.

However, Shapovalov settled down and sealed the win on his third match point to set up the clash with Carreno Busta, who beat him in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows in 2017.

“He’s beaten me every time on hard courts so it’ll be … another long battle,” Shapovalov said.