Skip to content

Rome Tournament | Denis Shapovalov eliminates Rafael Nadal

The battle was going to be tough, and it was tough until the middle of the third round. Denis Shapovalov got rid of the visibly diminished Rafael Nadal not without difficulty, by the score of 1-6, 7-5 and 6-2, Thursday, at the Rome tournament. Has the hour of redemption come for the Canadian?

Posted at 5:04 p.m.
Updated at 5:47 p.m.

Nicholas Richard

Nicholas Richard
The Press

The Roman public saw the Shapovalov of the good days on the center court, during his match in the round of 16. However, the trend was not favorable to the Ontarian, who had lost four of his five career duels against the Spaniard.

The match had started smoothly for him, as he lost 6-1 in the first set. Nothing was going for the Canadian, guilty of 17 unforced errors. Shapo knew it wasn’t going to be easy against the man who has won more than 90% of his career clay matches.

In the second set, the Canadian recovered and with the support of the Italian crowd, he took a 4-1 lead. Nadal wasn’t going to let him slip away so quickly. The Spaniard was still choked with his defeat against his 19-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him last week in the quarter-finals at home in Madrid.

Except Shapovalov continued to come to the net and put constant pressure on the winner of 21 Grand Slam titles, and it paid off. Nadal suffered 19 unforced errors. The Canadian won the second set at 7-5.

Round three was Shapo’s business through and through. Combative, precise and tenacious, the 23-year-old athlete made the veteran move a lot, and the latter paid the price. Going to a ball, Nadal injured his foot, the same one that kept him sidelined for several months at the end of last season. In the second half of the round, the Spaniard was limping and visibly in bad shape. Like the great champions, he still wanted to finish the match, but Shapovalov had the upper hand at 6-2.


Denis Shapovalov celebrates after his victory.

To this end, Nadal clarified after the meeting: “I was not injured. I am a player who has to live with injuries. That’s all. My daily life is difficult, honestly, and it is sometimes difficult to accept it. He also added that he didn’t know what his condition would be in a week. He is clueless about the situation.

The winner of the duel explained how he found it unfortunate that the match ended this way: “It was difficult to see him suffer at the end of the match. I don’t like to see that, especially when it affects a legendary player like Rafa. He brings so much to our sport. I hope he will be fit and ready to play [à Roland-Garros]. »

The Spaniard has Muller-Weiss syndrome, which notably leads to necrosis of the navicular bone. This rare disease is incurable and Nadal had to end his 2021 season in August due to excessive pain.

“It’s frustrating sometimes when I can’t train normally for several days,” he said Thursday. [Jeudi]it started again [à me faire souffrir] in the middle of the second set, and it became unbearable. »


Rafael Nadal

This victory remains highly significant for Shapovalov. First, because he overcame one of his pet peeves. Then, because it is Nadal’s earliest exit from the Rome tournament since 2008. Finally, because the Canadian usually has difficulty against players positioned in the top 10, as his 10-21 record shows. He beat Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open in January, but otherwise since losing to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in the semi-finals last summer, Shapo’s play has been inconsistent, if not significantly below his usual level.

He will now have the chance to show everyone that he is once again fit to compete with the best in the world, as he will face Casper Ruud, 10and world player and clay court specialist, in the quarter-finals.

Auger-Aliassime and Andreescu pass

Also in action on Thursday, the other Canadians still in action in Rome have earned a spot in the quarter-finals.


Felix Auger-Aliassime

Félix Auger-Aliassime defeated Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2, but he will face Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

Bianca Andreescu has continued to impress since her return beating Petra Martić 6-4, 6-4. However, like her compatriot, she will face world number one, Iga Świątek. The Pole has won the last four tournaments she has participated in.

Then, in women’s doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and her partner Giuliana Olmos will also play in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Seeded second, they will face the duo of Chan Hao-ching and Shuko Aoyama, seeded eighth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.