Wow! What a performance by the 18 year old Canadian Denis Shapovalov upsetting Rafa Nadal in a thrilling third set tiebreaker in Montreal.
An insane crowd too in Montreal. It was more like a Bell Centre Canadiens crowd than a tennis crowd. Even had the overflow of a couple of thousand more watching on the jumbotron outside the stadium. Really fun match to watch - had me screaming at my TV at times.
Shapalov has toppled a couple of tennis giants - first Juan Del Potro, now Nadal.
If you’ve been watching tennis for a long period of time - its pretty obvious some top players look for early exits from meaningless tournaments (like Canada) to fulfill sponsor obligations and/or to prepare for their next major. Nadal, Joker, Roger, Stan the Man, etc. all have black marks on their resume, upset by upstarts in various tourneys.
As for Del Potro - Dennis toppled a wounded warrior according to many reports.
I agree, he’ll have his hands full in his next outing, whoever that may be. Probably a good outing if he wins a set - a superb tournament if he advances to the semi-finals!
The Shapo show continues. As everybody predicted a sluggish start after the emotional insanity of last night - losing the first set. But give the kid credit - he came roaring back and as he did the crowd got roaring again and that seemed to propel the Canadian and rattle his French opponent.
On to the semis!
Oh and FYI - it was a HUGE deal that he beat Nadal last night - because Nadal wanted to move into the #1 ranking ahead of Murray and he would have had he made the finals of this tournament. The kid was front page news (and not just sports sections) today. And Nadal called it one of his most disappointing losses.
The youngest ever to make a Masters 1000 Series semi-final. (The Masters 1000 series are just one tier below the four majors in tennis.)
Be something super special if Dennis can somehow make his way to the final - and confront the biggest monster in the history of tennis - Roger Federer!
Gotta be trying times for the kid - with all the media focus, interviews, extra sets, etc. Don't think he's gone this far before - other than juniors. So endurance and health are really important - we've seen how Raonic's body breaks down when confronted by heavy play!
Nadal losing was no big deal. He wouldn't haved moved into #1 spot. Pat do clearly do not understand tennis neither.
he will get destroyed tonight. tennis is not like other sports where play and rankings mean anything for actual ability to perform in every match.
Nice effort from the 18 year old Shapovalov again tonight losing two straight very close and entertaining sets to Sverev - the 20 year old star from Germany who is already up to #8 in the world and most tennis experts predict will soon be contending for # 1.
The possible future face of tennis Sverev meet the legendary Roger Federer in tomorrow's final. Hopefully a good one.
The ATP billed tonight's semi final as the #NextGenATP matchup and the kids delivered a really entertaining match.
Even losing tonight what a week for Shapovalov as the commentators tonight and Shapovalov himself mentioned in post match interviews - the week has changed the kids' life. Hopefully the kid can handle the increased pressures that will now fall on him.
As Robert Bettauer said tonight Shapovalov's win over Nadal earlier this week 'will be talked about for years' to come in Canadian tennis circles' as it goes down as one of the most thrilling moments and upset wins ever by a Canadian in Rogers Cup/Canadian Open history. I think I've already seen match point of that game replayed about 50 times between reports on TSN and Sporstnet the last few days and it never gets old.
(I'll tell you watching Shapovalov the last few nights has been a heck of a lot more entertaining than trying to watch my brutal Ti-Cats play this season. My gawd this is as bad as they've ever been.)
Don't believe what I say. Let's go to the experts - those that cover tennis as a career. And based on their public reactions to Shapovalov this week - what Shapo did this week was huge in their minds.
ESPN's tennis crew who are all very knowledgeable tennis people and who are in Montreal this weekend with the matches this weekend on ESPN2 have had this reaction on their twitter feeds over the last few days.
Here some of their tweets this week.
Patrick McEnroe at the moment Shapovalov defeated Nadal
Wow! Just WOW!
Well played young man.
Brad Gilbert when the Nadal match ended Thursday night
Holy Toledo! What a night from Shapstick (his nickname for Shapovalov). I am speechless the way he stepped up!
Brad Gilbert when asked yesterday what is the ceiling for Shapovalov
Top 5 for now and going up the more I watch him.
And in another tweet before last night's matchup expressing his excitement over the '#NextGenATP matchup.
I could also site numerous articles by tennis journalists from tennis.com and other tennis and sports relatedd websites raving about Shapo this week and their 'just picking my jaw up off the floor' reaction to his incredible win over Nadal that caught the attention of tennis fans around the world.
The week was certainly great for the kid's pocketbook. His earnings for making the semifinals this week - over $220,000 - more than doubling his previous cafreer earnings.
Lets temper the Shapstick love by remembering how Genie Bouchard temporarily hoisted up Canada as a tennis nation 3 years ago by reaching two grand slam semi-finals and the Wimbledon final. That said, Genie was severely routed in her two semi-final opportunities and completely dominated (think a mature 25 yr old tennis superstar vs. a petulant 5 yr old) by Kvitova in 20 minutes or so at Wimbledon. After getting thrashed by Petra K. Genie has never been the same - focusing on her immense modelling opportunities but degrading her tennis.
Shapo is a different person. But this was NOT a tennis major. Joker & Stan the Hangman weren't on hand. He beat a crippled Del Potro and had an amazing match vs. a Top 3 player that he managed to convert to victory (Nadal).
But Zeryev dominated the young Canadian in two strong sets before a veritable home-town Shapo crowd.
Lets see what the kid does in his next 10 to 15 tournaments before we hang the Genie of the Week award on him.
Milos Raonic is the one true star Canada has produced. Unfortunatley, this lumbering giant no longer powders his serve like he used to. Plus, his fitness and body conditioning have proven to be suspect. He breaks down when he's going good - and when he's going bad - he's really going bad.
Still, no question the best tennis player Canada has ever produced. Men or Women.
Lyle you are correct and Pat is wrong. This is too common on these boards.
Bigwig Tennis experts from ESPN? they do not even have any tennis experts they are shared journalists that work for the USTA.
Secondly, who cares what they say, everyone was shocked Nadal lost to Denis Sharapolovanololav but its not big deal. happens all the time. most tennis players do not even go to win the tournament which is why majors are the biggest tennis matches.
Sverev rolled over Roger today and now becomes just the second player not named Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Murray to win two Masters 1000 series events.
I think Raonic has peaked and at best he might win the odd tournament but won't be a consistent winner like the Big 4 have been. Sverev seems like he's moving into that consistent winner group. Thiem has looked good too especially on clay earlier this year too.
So it finally looks like an overdue generational change may finally be happening in men's tennis and hopefully Canadian Shapovalov can be a part of that. Also Felix Auger-Aliasime who turns 17 this month and is the 7th youngest player ever to win the ATP Challenger series is another Canadian to watch in years to come according to all the tennis experts. He's the youngest player to crack the Top 250 in the world since when del Potro was a young phenom back in 2005.
So men's tennis in Canada seems to be in good hands for the next several years as long as these guys don't do a Bouchard-like flameout.
Regarding Genie, her decline is reminiscent of Ana Ivanovic's. Their decline are such a pity, considering that they both had potential and are the two most attractive female tennis players of the 21st century imo.
Also, I have to point out that she wasn't routed at Roland-Garros in 2014, as she was close to win against the mighty Sharapova.
Shapo has been fantastic this past week, and his playing style is different from the rest of the pack, which is refreshing. However, I agree with you that we shouldn't get carried away too fast about him.
I gotta disagree with you regarding the Zverev-Shapo matchup. The two of them were evenly matched, with Shapo being broken everytime because of double faults. I honestly believe that Federer would have lost on Sunday against either of the two players.
Milos needs to be in top shape in order to have a terrifying serve + decent movement on the court. Also, the fact that he ditched Moya for Kraijcek clearly didn't help his form in 2017.
However, I expect him to be much better in 2018, and hopefully win a GS either in Australia or at Wimbledon.
A moot point but Genie BooBoo is more like Anna Kournikova than Anna Ivanovic. The 3 of them represent 3 of the top 5 looking women in tennis history - Ivanovic at just over 6 ft. tall could easily have been a top fashion model - she's simply stunning.
But Ivanovic had nearly a 70% winning percentage in her near 12 year career. Plus a grand slam win plus a couple of final appearances to boot. 15+ million in career earnings - she was no ordinary WTA hobo - didn't meet expectations because she didn't have the wild force of will gals like the Williams sisters, Chris Evert, Martina, etc. possessed. These ladies played as if they were possessed. Serena still does.
Ivanovic never really got over in North America - other than her amazing pictures and fashion shoots. She spoke in a childish pidgeon English which didn't add to her allure.
Kournikova spoke broken English and basically was a fashion model pushed into professional tennis. It didn't suit her as she was unwilling to do the work, basically painting her nails while she played.
Bouchard is somewhere between the aforementioned pair. In her early days (junior and 1st year on tour) she was a whirlwind of force. . . . . her unpredictable style, physical presence and fierce go-for-broke style tormented fellow players - other than the super-stars who had little to no problem when Genie chased them down.
After the great year of Genie - she's basically at the same level (or worse) than Kournikova. But she's only 24, and everyone expects her to come out of her moody slump. I don't. She's done!
Unlike the 2 Annas - Bouchard is fluent in at least 2 languages and could easily turn from playing to commentating - in addition to hanging on to her modelling and sponsorship work. Whether she wants to work in front of cameras as commentator vs. competitor who knows. She's certainly one of the worst competitors on the ladies tour right now!
I hope you are right Earl. Not just because I like to see all Canadians succeed - but the kid plays an exciting brand of tennis and has a charisma on the court that is infectious and really played well to the home crowd in Montreal.
Raonic has the amazing cannon of a serve - but the types of matches he gets into just aren't as exciting. Rallies are rarely longer than just a few shots in Raonic's matches with very few long rallies that the crowd can really get into.
So would love to see the kid keep it up.
While I'm not a huge tennis fan, I will say my wealthy first cousin Mike Tevlin, remember the two bite brownie?, website below for some info on him, has given generously to the sport in Canada and has turned me onto the sport I must say. I need to get out and play a bit more come to think of it. He's also into baseball quite a bit.