Tennis

Shapovalov falls to unseeded Yoshihito Nishioka in Korean Open final

Canada's Denis Shapovalov fell just short of capping off a strong week with a title as he lost 6-4, 7-6 (5) to Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in the Korea Open final on Sunday.

Japanese player's 1st title also came against Canadian at 2018 Shenzen Open

Canada's Denis Shapovalov fell just short of capping off a strong week with a title as he lost 6-4, 7-6 (5) to Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in the Korea Open final on Sunday.

Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., was the fourth seed in the tournament and strung together three consecutive straight-set victories before the loss.

"Really great week, I think. Obviously always want to win the finals, but big credits to Yoshi today," the 23-year-old Canadian said. "He came out with the big shots in the right moments, and yeah, I just wasn't able to get the W today, but overall generally happy with the week."

Shapovalov fired five aces and won 80 per cent of first-serve points. But, he broke on just one of five opportunities, compared to two of eight from Nishioka.

WATCH | Nishioka improves to 2-0 in career vs. Shapovalov:

Shapovalov's dominant run in Seoul ends with loss in final

2 months ago
Duration 3:09
Canadian Denis Shapovalov hadn't dropped a set all week at the Korea Open until Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka defeated him 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Sunday.

Feeling as though his game is clicking, Shapovalov has his sights set on putting himself in bigger matches more often.

"I think I just got to put myself in these moments a little bit more," he said. "I try to be a bit more consistent throughout the year and give myself chances to play big matches like this and hopefully the more and more chances I get, I can win some of them and try to improve from match to match."

The world No. 24 is set to play Steve Johnson in the first round of the Japan Open on Monday.

The 27-year-old Nishioka, who beat top seed and world No.2 Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals of the Korean Open, was impressive in defence and his counter-punching style eventually wore down his higher ranked opponent in just under two hours at the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center.

The unseeded Nishioka, appearing in his second championship match this year after reaching the Washington final in August, started the brighter and found his rhythm early to claim the first set.

The second set saw momentum change as Shapavolov found his range from the backcourt to take a 3-1 lead. But Nishioka rallied to take the set into a tiebreak where he held firm to win his first tournament since his maiden title at the Shenzen Open in 2018 — where he also beat Shapovalov in their only previous meeting.

The ATP Tour returned to Seoul for the first time since 1996 after the city was awarded a single-year licence to stage the Korean Open.

With files from The Associated Press

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