The dynamic lefty saved six set points in the first set before beating home favourite Taylor Fritz 7-6(7), 6-2 for a spot in the quarter-finals.
“I’m really happy to get the win, obviously. The first set was super, super tough for me and to come back like that was amazing,” Shapovalov said in his on-court interview. “Definitely happy to be in San Diego, [it is] my first time. It’s such an amazing city.”
Fritz is left to rue his missed opportunities, especially at 6/3 in the first-set tie-break. The American sprinted forward and had plenty of time to put away a poor drop volley from Shapovalov, but he hit his backhand into the net.
The 23-year-old had three more set points in the tie-break, but that was his best opportunity. Shapovalov took his first chance with a short forehand passing shot around Fritz.
“When you have a tough set, it obviously helps a lot to win that set. Then you try to keep that momentum going. Obviously when you lose a tough one like that, your momentum drops. It’s very important to keep the gas pedal on,” said Shapovalov, who now leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head 4-1. “I definitely started the second set super well and just carried it.”
The Wimbledon semi-finalist will next play Cameron Norrie, who defeated fellow Briton Daniel Evans 7-6(3), 6-3. Norrie beat Shapovalov 7-5, 6-3 in their only previous clash earlier this year in the Queen’s Club semi-finals.