Shapovalov outlasts Nadal to reach QF; hopes to see Spaniard fit for Paris

Dennis Shapovalov engineered a comeback on Thursday in Rome, scoring his second win over an ailing Rafael Nadal with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory.

tennis Italian Open 2022: Shapovalov outlasts Nadal to seal quarterfinal berth hopes to see Spaniard fit for Paris snt

Rome, First Published May 13, 2022, 2:36 AM IST

In a massive heartbreak for Rafael Nadal fans, the Spanish ace has been knocked out of the Italian Open 2022 after Dennis Shapovalov produced a stunning comeback to seal his place in the quarter-finals.

The 10-time champion at Rome, who looked in sublime form at the start of the game, was defeated by the Canadian 1-6 7-5 6-2 in the last-16 round at the Foro Italico in Rome on Thursday.

It was a rematch of their round-of-16 clash at the same venue last year, in which the Spaniard saved two match points before winning. And the 13th seed advanced to his sixth ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, denying the Spaniard a landmark 100th trip to that stage at the Masters 1000 level. 

After going down an instant break in the final set, the Canadian won the final five games as the 21-time Grand Slam winner struggled with an apparent foot injury, likely related to his chronic left-foot problem. 

The one-sided finish belied the hard-fought nature of the contest to that point, with the first two sets seeing a combined 17 breakpoints. Shapovalov improved to 2-4 against Nadal, picking up his first win in the ATP Head2Head since his breakout 2017 win in Montreal.

Also read: Italian Open 2022: Djokovic applauds Wawrinka’s comeback after sealing quarter-final berth

“Hopefully he’s alright for French Open. I was a huge fan of his growing up. I watched him play so many times while growing up wanting to play and behave like him. So, I super lookup to him and hopefully he’s fit for the French Open,” the Canadian said.

Shapovalov next faces fifth seed Casper Ruud, who defeated Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 6-4 to secure his place in the tournament’s quarter-finals. The Norwegian beat the Canadian in their only ATP Head2Head matchup in the 2021 Geneva final.

Nadal fans were left heartbroken following this loss, with several raising concerns if the Spaniard is fit to clinch a record 14th French Open title later this month. Here’s a look at some of the reactions:

Last Updated May 13, 2022, 2:36 AM IST

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