Denis Shapovalov Starts Stockholm Title Defense With A Bang | ATP Tour

Defending champion Denis Shapovalov improved his record at the Stockholm Open to 6-1 after fighting past qualifier Andrea Vavassori to reach the quarter-finals on Wednesday. 

The third-seeded Canadian arrived in the Swedish capital looking to capture his second ATP Tour title of his career. He took a big step in the right direction as he broke Vavassori’s serve three times en route to a hard-fought 7-6(1), 6-1 victory. 

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“I think he played really, really well in the first set. It’s never easy to start a tournament, but it felt amazing to be back here,” Shapovalov said in an on-court interview, recalling his run to his first ATP Tour title in 2019.

“I remember playing a lot of good tennis. It was an amazing week, and honestly Stockholm is a  very special place for me where I won my first title. I always love coming back here.”  

The World No. 18 was locked into a tight first set against Vavassori, who was making his ATP main draw debut in Stockholm. The tension grew as Vavassori finally recovered from going down a break of serve in the first game, levelling the score at 5-5. Shapovalov raised his level in the tie-break, allowing the Italian just one more point as he took the set. The third seed maintained it in the second set, breaking serve twice more to seal the battle between lefties.

Shapovalov will next face Arthur Rinderknech, who won 6-4, 6-1 against lucky loser Jozef Kovalik. It will be their first meeting. 

Eighth seed Frances Tiafoe is also through to the quarter-finals at the ATP 250 event, after edging past Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-4, 6-4. He’ll meet fourth seed Daniel Evans next, after the Brit took down Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6(5), 6-2. The pair have a 2-2 record in their ATPHead2Head, with both players owning one win apiece on indoor hard-courts – Tiafoe in Basel in 2019, and Evans in Antwerp last year.

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