TORONTO (AP) - Denis Shapovalov upset Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3 on Monday night in the first round of the Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament.
Shapovalov said afterward that he didn’t expect to win.
Backed by a hometown crowd, the Richmond Hill, Ontario, native took advantage of world No. 19 Kyrgios’s unforced errors on a beautiful evening that featured a light breeze at Aviva Centre.
In a late match, American Sam Querrey defeated 7-6 (5), 6-4 Frank Dancevic, of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Other American winners include John Isner, who defeated Dudi Sela of Israel 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Jack Sock beat Denis Kudla 6-2, 6-2 and Ryan Harrison ousted Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-3, 6-1.
Shapovalov, who is a wild card in the tournament, was coming off a boys’ singles title win at Wimbledon earlier this month. The tournament’s youngest player will face Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round.
The Canadian requested to play on center court in his main draw debut because he said he loves playing on a big stage.
“I think the atmosphere really carried me forward today,” said Shapovalov, whose family was in attendance.
“It’s tough playing the first time on center court but by the end of the match I felt like the crowd really liked it when I was getting pumped up.”
Shapovalov got the crowd going in the third set when he opened with a 2-0 lead, breaking Kyrgios in the second game. Shapovalov carried that momentum into the third game, smashing his 11th ace of the match to take a 3-0 lead.
The winning game went to deuce before Shapovalov smashed an ace for advantage and then had a crosscourt forehand winner to take the match.
Kyrgios’ struggles started on the service line and the righty finished the match with 18 double faults.
“I just didn’t play great, he played well,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously he was excited, playing in front of his home crowd, I know what that feels like. To come off one of your biggest junior results and then play in one of your home tournaments, I know that feeling, it’s great.”
The Canadian looked nervous off the bat, but was able to compose himself. He had an ace to take the first game of the first set.
He took the first set by overpowering the Aussie with his serve, taking the tiebreak 7-2. Shapovalov’s winner came off a big left-handed serve that was too much for Kyrgios to handle.
Shapovalov, who wore an almost identical kit to Kyrgios minus his white cap, carried that momentum into the second set.
But Kyrgios started to take control when he broke Shapovalov in the second game of the second set. Shapovalov came back to break Kyrgios in the next game.
Kyrgios broke Shapovalov again to take a 5-3 advantage and win the set.
Shapovalov said that the Australian was very respectful in defeat and even let the teenager have the toss before the start of the match.
Kyrgios continued his praise for the Shapovalov after the match.
“He’s got a long way to go to obviously get to the top 100, but I have no doubt he’ll get there quickly,” he said.
It was one of three victories on the day for Canadians at the Rogers Cup. Toronto’s Steven Diez downed Britain’s Kyle Edmund 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 while Peter Polansky, of Thornhill, Ontario, advanced following a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over American qualifier Tim Smyczek.
Fourth-seeded Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ontario, has a bye in the first round.
Shapovalov said he’s going to celebrate the first-round victory a bit, but his main focus is preparing for his next match.
“It’s not the first time I have been so happy about a win,” Shapovalov said. “The semifinals of Wimbledon I was two points away from losing the match. I was equally as happy.
“Tournament is not over. I could celebrate my win from Nick after the tournament, but now I’m going to focus for Dimitrov.”
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