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.
“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.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 15, 2018
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.
Huge congrats to the man @denis_shapo on the #1 spot in????????. Enjoy the view ????
— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) May 15, 2018
Big congrats to @denis_shapo on being the new Canadian #1. Just turned 19.. wow.
— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) May 15, 2018
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