WIMBLEDON, England – As the Montreal Canadiens, Canada’s hope for the Stanley Cup hockey, faced an overseas elimination, compatriots Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime made their way to their first Wimbledon quarterfinals Monday afternoon, hours later.
Shapovalov, who won the 2016 Wimbledon junior title, has combined his two best matches in the men’s draw through the middle phase of this tournament. He used the same word to describe his victory in the fourth round, except for a few late hesitations, as he was after the third round: flawless.
“I played really, really flawlessly,” 10th seed Shapovalov said on Monday after a 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 win over eighth seed Robert Bautista Agut on field number 3. “Super happy with myself.”
In the third round, Shapovalov used his debut at the Center for the Demolition of domestic hero Andy Murray, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, a victory so crucial that Murray left stumbled. questioning the viability of his career.
“To beat him in straight sets in a tournament like this supports my level from Andy’s match,” Shapovalov said of his win over Bautista Agut, in which he hit 52 winners against 14th Bautista Agut. “I’m certainly just happy to feel like I’m improving every single match. Honestly, it was really, really fun outside.”
The fun continued for Canada hours later on field no. 1, and the 16th seed Auger-Aliassime hung for a 6-4, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 win over fourth seed Alexander Zverev.
Auger-Aliassime was also a much-anticipated junior, winning the 2016 U.S. Open two months after Shapovalov’s Wimbledon triumph.
After 4 hours and 2 minutes of their fickle argument, Auger-Aliassime, as he called it, “surely the best win of my life so far” closed with a header at the point of the match, dropping to his knees with relief. shooting.
“It’s a great day for us Canadians and we hope it will continue,” Auger-Aliassime said.
As Canada soared, its neighbor to the south suffered a surprisingly early sunset at Wimbledon. The United States started with 33 players in a single draw, but Coco Gauff, Madison Keys and Sebastian Korda all lost fourth-round matches on Monday, meaning for the first time since 2014, no Americans reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
It was an uneven path to success Canadian tennis, However. Both Bouchard and Raonic missed this tournament due to injuries. Fifth seed Bianca Andreescu, the only Canadian Grand Slam singles champion, at 2019. US Open, lost in the first round here.
Ali Shapovalov, 22, and Auger-Aliassime, 20, met expectations that preceded both years.
Although they recognized their potential, there were reasons for pessimism for Wimbledon. Shapovalov missed the French Open with a shoulder problem, and Auger-Aliassime lost last month in the final of the ATP tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, lowering his record in the final to 0-8.
Through wild changes in momentum against the Beasts on Monday, Auger-Aliassime bent but did not break. “This match really had everything,” he said. “I had to dig deep physically and mentally. Of course, it makes it even sweeter. “
“It’s a dream come true, it’s amazing,” he said. “I’m a normal guy from Montreal, Canada and I’m here.”
Although the two men have been friends for many years, Shapovalov has a tougher outlook and finds motivation in the roles he felt from the tennis system in Canada as a young player.
“I think proving that people are wrong is what made me the way I am today,” Shapovalov said. “I was a child who grew up without the help of a foundation, on my own with my parents, and every dollar I earned from work literally spent on my career. I always have to prove myself, I’m not always good enough, I’m not elected to teams and places – that’s always been for me. “
That sensibility informed Shapovalov off the field – his rap career. Although he uses hip-hop tropes about expensive cars and drinking champagne, Shapovalov’s lyrics also have an antagonistic approach to his perceived slanderers.
“Everyone left me on earth, they couldn’t see how much I was worth; now I’m up in the clouds, I don’t belong to this country, “he knocked in the recent song” Broken. “
Shapovalov admitted that this motivation, drawn by the comments of commentators or on social networks, was a “permanent topic” for him.
“That’s how I keep getting inspired or moving on,” he said. “I’m certainly not a person who hates at all – I don’t think I resent it – but it motivates me in terms of my sporting side, how I’m on the field. Certainly, it’s always something I come back to just to inspire me. ”
On Wednesday, Auger-Aliassime will face seventh-placed Matteo Berrettini, a close friend with whom he recently watched Italy’s victory over Belgium at the European Football Championship.
As he mentioned Novak Djokovic i Roger Federer, who both advanced to the quarterfinals with wins from the direct set, as clear favorites, Auger-Aliassime admitted that the withdrawals of the top five Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem “may draw a little for some players”.
“As players on tour, you try to take every chance,” he said. “Of course, you don’t always do it, but you fight for it. It’s good to see some new faces in the quarterfinals. At least I’m happy to be a part of it. ”
Shapovalov will enter his first Wimbledon quarterfinals as the favorite against 25th seed Russian Karen Khachanov, who prevailed in Monday’s craziest match.
After four sets of fairly standard tennis between two big stoppers, Khachanov’s fifth set against Sebastian Korda escalated into a battle of frayed nerves, with the two combining for a break at 13 times in Khachanov’s fifth set 3-6, 6-4 , 6 -3, 5-7, 10-8 wins. According to IBM, 13 breaks in one set were Wimbledon’s record in individual competition.
“At least we made some record,” Khachanov said with a shy smile. “It’s not common, but it’s true with nerves.”