Dubai: Denis Shapovalov booked his spot in the semi-final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship after a straightforward 7-5, 6-4 victory over French journeyman Jeremy Chardy on Thursday.
The match on the centre court at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Thursday afternoon lasted 85 minutes, with Shapovalov breaking his opponent in the 11th game of the first set and ninth game of the second. Chardy failed to save the two breakpoints against him.
Shapovalov pushed his rival hard, going from 15-40 in the 11th game and capitalised on the one breakpoint earned to seize the initiative. He later served out the set with Chardy’s score unchanged. The Canadian got the match in his grasp without much fuss in second set after breaking his French rival in the ninth game.
Serving for the match, Shapovalov wrapped up his 201st ATP Tour match with a screaming ace down the middle. The 21-year-old put his victory down to work done on improving his serve and footwork.
Shapovalov said: “I’ve definitely focused on my serve a lot the last couple of weeks in practice. I am putting in a lot of time into it; how to place it and trying different serves out. I’m trying to have more variations and I am definitely very happy with the way I am serving.
Shapovalov faces South African qualifier and World No.81 Lloyd Harris in the semi-final on Friday after the latter’s stunning 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory against Kei Nishikori of Japan.
In another quarter-final, Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev of Russia emerged from a set down to beat Italy’s Jannik Sinner 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 in two and a half hours.
Sinner made the early running against Karatsev, breaking for 2-0 and building a 4-1 lead. Although Karatsev broke back in the seventh game, it was Sinner who took the tiebreak. The second set saw the tables turned as in an 11-minute second game, Karatsev took a 2-0 lead on his fifth break point and that was enough to level the match.
In the third set, after an early exchange of breaks, Karatsev crucially fought off two break points to hold for 2-2 and from then on always held the upper hand against his discouraged opponent.
“At the start, maybe I was not at full energy. But it was a good match, I played well, I was moving well, and the intensity was better in the second and third sets,” said World No.42 Karatsev, who will face either countryman Andrey Rublev or Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics in the semis.
“Of course, I was super happy to reach the semi-finals in Australia and now reach the semis here. I will keep working, keep improving everyday, keep practicing and then, we will see.”
Singles Quarter finals: D. Shapovalov (CAN) bt J Chardy (FRA) 7-5, 6-4; A. Karatsev (RUS) bt J. Sinner (ITA) 6-7, 6-3, 6-2; L Harris (RSA) bt K Nishikori (JPN) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.