Tennis·ROUNDUP

Canada's Shapovalov upsets world No. 3 Zverev at Australian Open, faces Nadal in quarters

Canada's Denis Shapovalov continued his run at the Australian Open with a dominant straight-sets upset victory over Alexander Zverev in the fourth round Sunday.

Barty tops Anisimova, Krejcikova defeats Azarenka to advance on women's side

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., defeated No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany in Melbourne on Sunday to advance to the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time in his career. (Tertius Pickard/The Associated Press)

As the 2022 Australian Open began, Denis Shapovalov talked about wanting to bring the "Rafa mentality" to the court.

Now that he's reached the quarter-finals Down Under for the first time in his career after a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 dismantling of world No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the round of 16 Sunday, he will get to test out that new mantra against the man who created it.

The 22-year-old Canadian will face 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal on Tuesday, with a spot in the semifinals on the line.

"It's just fighting for every point, kind of just staying in it, not letting things bother you," Shapovalov said of the mindset he hoped he and his team could bring to the court in 2022.

WATCH l Shapovalov stuns Zverev in straight sets at Australian Open:

Shapovalov upsets Zverev, advances to Australian Open quarter-finals for 1st time

5 months ago
Duration 3:24
Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., defeats world No. 3 Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the fourth round at the Australian Open.

If the match against Zverev was any indication, it's already mission accomplished.

Shapovalov is the third Canadian to reach the final eight in Melbourne. He joins Milos Raonic (who has gone at least that far on five occasions) and Mike Belkin, who reached the quarter-finals in 1968 — the first year of tennis's open era.

Felix Auger-Aliassime will attempt to join that group Monday (late Sunday night ET) when the No. 9 seed takes on No. 27 seed Marin Čilić in his own round-of-16 match.

'Expecting a long battle'

"I'm definitely expecting a long battle out there. He makes you play a lot. His defence is very good. He's very good at what he does, you know?" Shapovalov said of Nadal. "I'm going to have to try to play my game, take it to him and keep doing what I have been doing: playing patient, fighting for every point and picking my spots to play aggressively."

Shapovalov had a slight dip in focus at the end of the second set against Zverev. But beyond that, he outhit the mighty Zverev from the baseline. He kept the errors down. And on a steamy, humid day, he kept his infamously inconsistent cool pretty much throughout.

"Obviously it was really hot to begin with. Did a good job of just staying patient and, yeah, trying to play a little quickly on my serve games," Shapovalov said. "I think I did everything really, really well today."

Other than 11 double faults, Shapovalov dominated the rallies with power and surprising consistency. He rarely looked in trouble.

For his part, Zverev never looked as though he might mount a charge. And his career-long struggle with his second serve, resolved fairly well in 2021, reared its head. With eight double faults, he won just 29 per cent of his second-serve points.

"Maybe since Wimbledon, one of the worst matches I have played. It's just tough," a downcast Zverev said. "Obviously I give credit to Denis. It's incredible he's in the quarters. I think he deserves it. He's done a lot of work. He's improved his game. But I've got to look at myself, as well. Today was just, in my opinion, awful from my side."

Impact of new coach

Shapovalov went 22-for-27 at the net on Sunday. That's an area where he has made steady improvement in the last two years, and where he hopes new coach Jamie Delgado, a fine volleyer in his day, will make even more of an impact.

The arrival of Andy Murray's former longtime coach, and Shapovalov's first breakthrough effort Down Under, are happening concurrently.

After just a few weeks, though, it's far too soon to assess Delgado's impact.

However, adding the 44-year-old Brit, after parting ways with Russian former top-10 player Mikhail Youzhny at the end of last season, was 100 per cent Shapovalov's decision.

It may be the first major call on his career that the Richmond Hill, Ont., native has made on his own, with mother and coach Tessa such a strong presence as he rose through the ranks.

"For sure, it's a little bit about growing up — wanting my parents to be my parents and kind of treating this like more of like a business and like a job," Shapovalov said. "And I really wanted to build a team that's going to be on the same page the whole time. So it was it was my call, and my decision."

Shapovalov spoke to a few potential candidates. He even approached his former coach and the former Canadian Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau to return.

"It just didn't work out. He's in a good position with Tennis Canada, and he's pretty comfortable. We just, couldn't come to a good agreement," Shapovalov said.

Nadal reaches Aussie Open quarters for 14th time

Nadal finally got the better of a crazy, long tiebreaker and knew he'd won half the battle.

After saving four set points and missing with the first six of his own, Nadal finally clinched a tiebreaker that lasted 28 minutes and 40 seconds to set himself on course to secure a spot in the Australian Open quarter-finals for a 14th time.

After his 7-6 (14), 6-2, 6-2 fourth-round victory over fellow left-hander Adrian Mannarino on Sunday, Nadal is potentially just three wins away from a men's record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

Nadal, in his 17th campaign in Australia, is now tied with John Newcombe in second spot on the all-time list for most Australian Open quarter-finals, one behind Roger Federer's 15.

Nadal celebrates after defeating Mannarino in their fourth-round match at the Australian Open on Sunday in Melbourne. (Hamish Blair/The Associated Press)

It's also the Spaniard's 45th time into the last eight at a Grand Slam tournament, which is third on the all-time list behind Federer (58) and Novak Djokovic (51).

He shares the men's record of 20 major titles with Federer and Djokovic. But he's the only one of the trio playing in this tournament. Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic was deported on the eve of the tournament because he didn't meet Australia's strict COVID-19 vaccination rules. Federer is recovering from injury.

Mannarino, who didn't finish his 4-hour, 38-minute four-set, third-round win over No. 18 Aslan Karatsev until after 2 a.m. on Saturday and appeared to be hampered by an abdominal or upper leg injury, threw everything at Nadal in the opening set on Rod Laver Arena, where temperatures approached 33 Celsius (91 F).

The first set lasted 85 minutes, including the 'breaker, but after getting early breaks in the second and third sets the match was over in 2 hours, 40 minutes.

No. 1 Barty advances, will face Pegula

Women's No. 1 Ash Barty advanced to the quarter-finals for the fourth straight year when she beat 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-3.

Barty is aiming to be the first Australian woman to win her home Grand Slam title since 1978 and has gone through the first four rounds without dropping a set.

Anisimova, coming off a third-round upset over defending champion Naomi Osaka, broke Barty's opening service game of the second set — a first for the tournament — but the two-time major winner responded by taking six of the last seven games.

Barty beat Anisimova in the semifinals of the French Open in 2019 on the way to winning her first Grand Slam title and won her second at Wimbledon last year.

She'll next play No. 21-seeded Jessica Pegula, who beat fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-6 (0), 6-3.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova breezed to a 6-2, 6-2 win over two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and is into the last eight for the third time in four Grand Slam events.

Krejcikova defeats injury-hampered Azarenka

French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova continued her "magical" run of form by taking down an injury-hampered Victoria Azarenka 6-2 6-2 to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time on Sunday.

The 26-year-old had never gone past the second round at Melbourne Park but is seeded fourth this year. She was ranked outside the world's top 100 until October 2020 but has shown incredible consistency to climb the ladder.

Azaraneka's defeat means the Australian Open will have a new women's singles champion this year.

The Belarusian, who won back-to-back titles at Melbourne Park in 2012 and 2013, received treatment to the left side of her neck and shoulder early in the second set and needed regular assistance from the trainer during changeovers.

Krejcikova, who had lost their only previous meeting in 2020, did not let her 32-year-old opponent's struggles affect her focus and sealed the victory on Rod Laver Arena when Azarenka found the net with a return.

Krejcikova will next meet Madison Keys after the former U.S. Open finalist defeated eighth-seeded Spaniard Paulo Badosa 6-3 6-1.

Berrettini to face Monfils in quarters

Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini completed a Grand Slam set by advancing to the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over 19th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta in the last match on Day 7.

The seventh-seeded Berrettini has now reached the quarter-finals at all four of the tennis majors.

He hit 28 aces and 57 winners against Carreno Busta and will next play No. 17 Gael Monfils, who beat Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 7-6 (4), 6-3 to make it to the last eight for the second time in 17 trips to Melbourne Park.

Berrettini beat Monfils in five sets in the 2019 U.S. Open quarter-finals.

Ousted Belgian player tests positive for COVID-19

Belgian tennis player Alison Van Uytvanck said on Sunday she had tested positive for COVID-19 after playing at the Australian Open.

"My exit test in Melbourne to go back to Belgium came back positive," she said on social media. "I'm isolating and following all of the requirements."

Van Uytvanck partnered Dane Clara Tauson to a three-set loss in the opening round of the women's doubles on Thursday on Court 14 at Melbourne Park.

Tauson played Danielle Collins in the singles on Saturday. Collins is due to play a fourth round match on Monday against Elise Mertens.

Van Uytvanck was eliminated in the second round of the singles by China's Wang Qiang on Wednesday.

"I have very mild symptoms and looking forward to being back stronger," said the Belgian.

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

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