Canada Flashback: Rafael Nadal experiences stunning loss to Denis Shapovalov

Rafael Nadal endures stunning defeat to Denis Shapovalov

Young savage Denis Shapovalov was keen to show off his best tennis in front of the home fans at Montreal 2017. 2Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard had to beat the youngster to become world No. 1.

1 again, but that had to wait for another tournament. Denis stunned Rafa 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and 45 minutes to become the youngest Masters 1000 quarter-finalist and write history books. In his second Masters 1000 event in 2014, Shapovalov became the second youngest competitor after Borna Coric in Basel with a win over Nadal.

World No. 143 threw everything he had at the Spaniard, playing bold and aggressive tennis and keeping the points on his racquet to land 49 winners and 41 unforced errors. On the other hand, Rafa had 18 winners and 29 errors, struggling to find the rhythm but still close to the finish line after having six break chances in the final set and a 3-0 lead in the tie break.

Nothing could separate the rivals in the quickest changes and Nadal had a slim advantage on the longer ones. Still, Denis made a massive impression with his forehand, outplaying Nadal in that area and keeping his backhand secure enough to last through the exchange.

Nadal served at 57%, faced six break chances and gave serve away twice.

Denis Shapovalov defeated Rafael Nadal in Montreal in 2017 at the age of 18.

The three-time champion claimed 37% of return points, creating 11 break chances but converting only two, which cost him dearly.

Nadal sailed through the opening set, despite serving at 46%, keeping Shapovalov off rhythm and breaking him 4-3. Rafa won 12 of the last 13 points, winning the opener 6-3 and looking good to seal the deal in straight sets.

Denis increased his level in the second set, creating all six break chances in that part of the encounter and breaking Nadal in the second game. Shapovalov built a 4-1 lead and missed two more chances in game six. Suddenly, Nadal broke back a few minutes later and was now the favorite, bringing the match home in straight sets and just one win from No.

1 position. Instead, Shapovalov showed real guts and staying power, delivering another break at 5-4 to seal the set and force a decider in front of a partisan crowd. The more experienced player was more dangerous on the return in the first part of the decider but that didn’t give him an advantage.

The youngster refused to surrender after fending off six break points, including ten deuces in the third marathon game. They’ve served well in the last seven games to send the action into a crucial tiebreak. Nadal held a 3-0 lead before hitting a double fault to bring Denis back.

The Canadian fired a forehand winner to take a 5-4 lead and get a boost. Rafa scored a simple forehand in the next point to give his rival two match points. Shapovalov cracked another forehand winner down the line, moving over the top and falling to the ground in disbelief.

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