Denis Shapovalov advances to face Djokovic

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Seventh-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy defeated 16th-seeded Montrealer Félix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Championships tennis tournament at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

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“He’s one of my best friends and we practiced together for two weeks coming out of the quarantine,” said Berrettini. “It’s too bad he lost, but I’m happy for me.”

The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime had a slow start and lost his serve three times in the first set. He broke Berrettini for a 2-1 lead in the second set but squandered that opportunity when he was broken at love at 3-2. He made three unforced errors and then double-faulted at break point. He rallied to break Berrettini for a 6-5 lead and served out the set.

The third set was on serve until Berrettini broke Auger-Aliassime in the 12th game. The 25-year-old Italian had the momentum going into the fourth set and took advantage of two missed volleys by Auger-Aliassime for a break in the second game and held serve through the remainder of the match.

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The run to the quarterfinals earned Auger-Aliassime US$423,445 and he’ll jump to a career-high No. 15 in the ATP rankings next week.

In the semifinals, Berrettini will meet Hubert Hurkacz of Poland who upset eight-time champion Roger Federer 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0.

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov wins match point against Russia’s Karen Khachanov during their men’s quarter-finals match on the ninth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2021.
Canada’s Denis Shapovalov wins match point against Russia’s Karen Khachanov during their men’s quarter-finals match on the ninth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2021. Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS /AFP via Getty Images

Earlier Wednesday, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont,. reached his first Grand Slam semifinal with a 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 win over Russian Karen Khachanov.

The 10th-seeded Shapovalov fired 17 aces and won 86 per cent of first-serve points to mitigate the impact of his 10 double-faults.

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 that took nearly 3½ hours to complete.

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The last break came at 4-4 in the fifth set. Shapovalov converted his fourth break chance in that game when Khachanov hit a forehand long.

“It was definitely super tough, especially in the fifth set, having 0-40 and not converting,” said Shapovalov. “Then having the craziest game of my life, being able to win that was massive. I was in a similar position at the U.S. Open last year in the quarter-finals, and I thought I started the fifth set a little slow, so I told myself just play every single point as hard as you can, and a bit of luck was on my side.”

Shapovalov faces top seed Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday. Djokovic, who has a 6-0 record against Shapovalov, defeated Marton Fucsovics of Poland 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

“He (Djokovic) is the best player in the world, but when you look at the scoreboard, the first thing on Friday, it is going to be 0-0,” said Shapovalov. “I have full belief in me and my team, anything is possible.”

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