Denis Shapovalov hung on and hung on but in the end it wasn’t enough Saturday night in Montreal. After breakout scintillating wins over Juan Martin del Potro, Rafael Nadal and Adrian Mannarino, in addition to having saved match points in his first round match, the young 18-year-old fell just short in a spirited contest with 20-year-old Alexander Zverev who outclassed and overpowered the Canadian 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
Shapovalov was done in by his wicked lefty serve which helped him so much against Nadal, but tonight he gave up six double faults and three of them came on break points.
“It’s a little bit disappointing, this loss today, because I felt like I had a chance, but Sascha played too good in the big moments,” said Shapovalov. “I don’t think I played that well in those moments. I gave away a lot of breaks with double faults. I wasn’t even letting him play those points.
“But credit to him, he’s playing with so much confidence. He really put the pressure on me. I don’t think it’s going to affect my week. I mean, I’ve had the week of my life. Sascha is an unbelievable player. Actually it’s pretty nice to see how my game matches up against him, to see that I can compete with a great player like him.”
Zverev was hit by the double fault bug as well tossing in six of his own, but the World No. 8 saved three break points serving for the match at 6-5 and eventually closed it out.
Ranked No. 143 Shapovalov, will up to No. 66 and soon could be a real threat in bigger events.
“I told him he had a great run, well done to him, to not worry too much that he lost today,” said Zverev. “I also told him that this is just the first match of very, very many that we will play against him. Hopefully a lot of other big matches, maybe in Grand Slams, maybe in finals of tournaments. I just told him that this is the beginning for him.”
Zverev has now won his last 9 matches after winning Washington last week, and 10 straight in Masters events following that Rome title.
Next up is Roger Federer who served his way into his 6th final of the season besting Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6(5). Federer was broken once in the first set but in the second won 28 of 31 points on his service.
“I’m happy, most happy that I’m actually really healthy going into the finals,” said Federer. “I haven’t wasted too much energy. I’ve been able to keep points short. I’ve been really clean at net. I think my concentration and just my playing has gone up a notch. I’m just playing better.”
Federer leads Zverev 2-1 with the German winning in Halle last year while Federer gained revenge this past June.
“I think he’s definitely the favourite,” said Zverev of Federer. “He’s been playing amazing tennis. He pretty much won every single big tournament he played this year. I feel like I’m playing well, so I know that I have to serve a lot better tomorrow than I did today. That was I think the thing that I struggled the most with today.
“But, you know, I played in five finals this year. I won four. The one that I lost was against Roger. There’s a reason for it. I’m happy to be in the final. I’ll try to enjoy as much as I can.”
Federer is a sparkling 5-0 in finals and 35-2 overall this season, holding match points in all 37 of his matches. He won 16 straight victories to equal his longest win streak since 2012 and 15 straight at Masters.
Meanwhile, Zverev is 4-1 in 2017 finals, losing only to Federer 6-1, 6-3 in Halle. Should he avenge that loss, Zverev would tie Federer for the most titles this year.
Federer is seeking a third title in Canada, first in Montreal after wins in Toronto in 2004 and 2006.
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