Tennis

Denis Shapovalov beats Grigor Dimitrov to advance to semis at Italian Open

No. 12 seed Denis Shapovalov from Richmond Hill, Ont., edged No. 15 seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals Saturday to notch his first career win in three matches against the Bulgarian.

Shapovalov to face Diego Schwartzman after he pulls off big upset over Rafael Nadal

Denis Shapovalov of Canada reacts in his quarter-final match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria during day six of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia at Foro Italico on September 19, 2020 in Rome, Italy. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Canada's Denis Shapovalov is through to the semifinals of the Italian Open.

The No. 12 seed from Richmond Hill, Ont., edged No. 15 seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals Saturday to notch his first career win in three matches against the Bulgarian.

"It's amazing to beat a player like Grigor," Shapovalov said. "He's someone I've looked up to since I was a junior. I'm a really big fan of his game and the way he plays. I've had some difficult matches against him.

"To get the win it's a big step for me and a big step for my confidence to know I can beat a player of that category, of that level."

WATCH | Shapovalov's 100th win sends him into Rome semis:

21-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill earns his 100th career ATP tour-level win by beating  Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.  2:23

Shapovalov, ranked No. 14 in the world, won 80 per cent of his first service points and broke Dimitrov, a former world No. 3, five times at the ATP Masters 1000 clay-court event.

The match lasted one hour, 53 minutes.

Schwartzman upsets Nadal on clay

Shapovalov will play No. 8 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in Sunday's final. The 28-year-old Schwartzman advanced with a stunning 6-2, 7-5 upset of No. 2 Rafael Nadal, a clay-court master and nine-time champion at this tournament.

It will be the first career meeting between Shapovalov and Schwartzman, who opened the week ranked one spot below the Canadian at No. 15.

WATCH | Schwartzman upsets the King of Clay:

Argentina's Diego Schwartzman defeats 9-time Italian Open champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets 6-2, 7-5. 1:06

The 21-year-old Shapovalov is looking to reach the final of a Masters 1000 tournament for the second time in his career. He lost to Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Paris Masters last November.

Shapovalov's only career ATP title came last October in Stockholm, a 250-level event.

Shapovalov is on a roll recently. He's coming of a run to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.

"Definitely very happy with the result today and this week overall," Shapovalov said. "I've had a lot of difficult matches and dealing with jet lag and the body fatigue, it's not easy. I'm really happy with the way I've been able to overcome that."

The other men's semifinal will feature top-ranked Novak Djokovic against Casper Ruud who became the first Norwegian to reach the semifinal of a Masters 1000 tournament. 

His father, Christian Ruud, got as far as the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters in 1997.

While fans have not been admitted to the tournament yet, Italy's sports minister said Friday that 1,000 spectators will be allowed in for the semifinals and finals.

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