Shapovalov beats Berdych to become Canadian No.1

Published by TenniSmash

Shapovalov will end Raonic's eight-year run as Canadian No.1; Getty Images
Denis Shapovalov beats Tomas Berdych in Rome and will replace Milos Raonic as Canada’s highest-ranked man.

Teenager Denis Shapovalov will become the new Canadian No.1 following a first-round win over Tomas Berdych at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

The 19-year-old won fought back to win 1-6 6-3 7-6(5) on a rainy day in Rome, setting up a second-round contest against Dutchman Robin Haase.

Victory over Berdych was enough to ensure that Shapovalov will rise from his current ranking of No.29 to at least No. 26, leapfrogging the 27th-ranked Milos Raonic, who has been the leading Canadian man since 2010.

REPORT: Svitolina and Sharapova win openers in Rome

“I’m a little bit in shock,” Shapovalov told atpworldtour.com.

“It’s definitely happened extremely quickly. I’ve worked hard to try to achieve this a long time in my career. It’s crazy that it’s come so early.

“It’s a reason to keep working, keep staying motivated and hopefully I can keep going.”

Shapovalov’s rise has been dramatic since his breakthrough last season, when he beat Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro while ranked 143rd at the Montreal Masters.

Tuesday’s match against Berdych was just the Canadian’s 10th on clay at ATP level, and he admitted afterwards it had taken time to adjust to life among the game’s elite.

“When I started travelling to all of these ATP events, I felt a little bit homesick,” added Shapovalov, the youngest player in the top 30 since Richard Gasquest reached No.17 in 2005 at the age of 19.

“After the off-season I sat down with my team and I kind of knew what to expect this season. With that mindset I started enjoying it.”

In other matches on Tuesday, ninth seed David Goffin beat Italian wildcard Marco Cecchinato 5-7 6-2 6-2 in the second round, while fourth seed Marin Cilic and Ryan Harrison were level at 3-3 in a first-set tiebreak when rain ended play for the day.

 

 

 

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