The atmosphere on Court 11 was electric as the World No. 69 fought back from a break deficit in the second set to claim victory over the Portuguese in just 72 minutes. Fresh off his dream run to the Coupe Rogers semi-finals, the 18-year-old Canadian is looking to further build on his career-high position in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the final Grand Slam of the year.
“He started playing more aggressive and went for his shots [in the second set],” Shapovalov told ATPWorldTour.com. “It was a little tough to get back on track, but I did a good job to fight back. I’ve been in these situations a lot this year, so it’s just another match. Luckily I’ve been finding it within myself to try to pull those matches out and it’s going well.
“I feel lucky to be outside my country and have so many people to support me. And in such a great city like New York it’s so much fun to be out here. Hopefully the fans will come out again and take me as far as I can go.”
Shapovalov will face Jan Satral of the Czech Republic on Friday, with a berth in the main draw on the line. Satral, who reached the second round as a qualifier last year, defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-3.
Fans on Court 13 were treated to arguably the match of the day between #NextGenATP stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini. Tsitsipas fought back from a set down to claim a 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 7-6(2) victory in two hours and 44 minutes. Berrettini denied four match points from 0/40 down at 5-4 in the decider, but could not stave off a fifth in the ensuing tie-break.
“I felt really bad when I lost those four match points,” said Tsitsipas. “But I knew that if I stopped playing, all my effort from these three sets would be gone. There was no reason to stop fighting. I still managed to keep my serve in the next game. Mentally it was really tough but I’ve been through this before and I realized how I needed to handle the situation.”
Tsitsipas joins American Michael Mmoh, Australia’s Akira Santillan and Shapovalov as the quartet of #NextGenATP to advance on Thursday. The Greek 19-year-old will face Nicolas Mahut, while Mmoh battles countryman Evan King and Santillan duels with University of Virginia standout JC Aragone.
American wild cards King and Aragone have shocked the field in reaching the third round in their Grand Slam qualifying debuts. The home hopes both fought back from a set down to prevail, with King defeating Renzo Olivo 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 and Aragone overcoming Riccardo Bellotti 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. King claimed his first ATP World Tour match win earlier this month in Los Cabos, while Aragone is making his tour-level debut. They join Mmoh, Tim Smyczek and Mitchell Krueger as American winners on Thursday.
“I don’t know how many US Opens I’ve played, but this is by far the most support I’ve gotten. I really like playing in front of the crowd” said Krueger, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over Egor Gerasimov. “I’ve put myself in the best position I can. I have one goal this tournament and I need one more win.”
Krueger will bid to make his main draw debut when he faces Australia’s John-Patrick Smith, who defeated Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day. The Fort Worth, Texas native owns a 3-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge, with all meetings having come on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Bent But Not Broken, Stebe Soars After Three Years On Sidelines
Two players looking to qualify after enjoying great ATP Challenger Tour success in the month of August are Cameron Norrie and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. Norrie notched his maiden title in nearby Binghamton, New York, while Stebe is coming off a victory in Vancouver on Sunday. Norrie will face Japanese veteran Go Soeda, while Stebe takes on Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia.
Meanwhile, top seed Leonardo Mayer is flying high after claiming his second ATP World Tour title in Hamburg last month. The Argentine extended his win streak to seven straight, having dropped a combined 11 games to reach the final round of qualifying. He cruised past Gleb Sakharov 6-2, 6-1 on Thursday, converting four of 16 break chances. Germany’s Maximilian Marterer awaits next.