Denis Shapovalov continues his little way in Italy. The Canadian confirmed on Thursday that he had acclimated well to the clay a few days after his good run at Flushing Meadows (where he reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final) with a surface specialist, the Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, in two sets (6-4, 6-4) and 1h40 of play in the second round. For a place in the quarterfinals, he will be opposed either to Ugo Humbert who released Fabio Fognini later in the day (7-5, 7-6).
It was not all perfect. He even, in sequence, showed a curious nervousness. But Denis Shapovalov has held his place, which is not insignificant when we analyze the fate reserved since the start of this Masters 1000 in Rome for those who land after a good US Open. Because if Pedro Martinez is only the 109th player in the world, he still had 4 victories behind him this week, including one against Sam Querrey in the first round after coming out of qualifying.
Schwartzman did not tremble
If the Canadian was not helped by his service (only 49% from first balls and 57% of success behind) and experienced some air holes as when he was broken at the start of the second set, his power helped overpower a catchy opponent. Despite the absence of the audience, Shapovalov appeared very motivated, frequently encouraging himself. And he was able to vary when needed, sometimes using the serve-and-volley wisely. He was also aggressive on the opponent’s second ball, which allowed him to make no less than four breaks in the game.
Released in the first round at the US Open and quarterback in Kitzbühel last week, Diego Schwartzman has revived somewhat on his side. The number 8 seed of the tournament, exempt from the first round, got the better of John Millman in two hotly contested sets (6-4, 7-6) and 2:17 hours of play. In this duel of marathoners from the bottom, the Argentinian, slightly more at ease on clay, struggled to win. He was notably unbreaker at 5-4 in the second act while he was used to win the match. But he gave a saving collar in the tie-break overflown 7 points to 1. In the round of 16, he will face Hubert Hurkacz, striker of Andrey Rublev (7-6, 3-6, 6-2) .
Dusan Lajovic in Rome in 2020
Credit: Getty Images
Lajovic will challenge Nadal
Later in the day, Dusan Lajovic flaunted his earthly qualities against Milos Raonic. The Serbian, finalist in Monte-Carlo last year, overcame the Canadian giant after three sets (7-6, 4-6, 6-2) and 2:32 of a great fight. In the deciding game of the first set, the Serb remarkably moved his opponent from one end of the court to the other to gain the advantage. And his undermining work ended up paying off in the long run, even if Raonic managed to win the second round.
The Canadian paid a drop in service, serving only 56% of first balls, while this shot remains his main weapon. Lajovic took full advantage of it in a one-sided final act. The challenge will nevertheless be immense in the next round for him, since Rafael Nadal, impressive against Pablo Carreno Busta, will stand up against him.