Canada’s Denis Shapovalov falls to Dominic Thiem in second round of Rogers Cup

MONTREAL — Denis Shapovalov wasn’t able to repeat his Montreal magic.

The 20-year-old Canadian fell to Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in second-round action at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday.

Shapovalov grabbed the hearts of tennis fans here in 2017 when he upset world No. 2 Rafael Nadal — ranked 141 spots ahead of the Richmond Hill, Ont., product at the time — on the way to making the semifinals.

There will be no such run in 2019.

Shapovalov fell behind when he double faulted to hand Thiem, the tournament’s second seed, a 5-4 lead in the first set on centre court at IGA Stadium.

The 31st-ranked player in the world rebounded in the second set, breaking Thiem to go up 5-2 and holding serve from there.

Then in the third set, Shapovalov doubled faulted and sent an overhand smash into the net to fall behind 5-3.

Despite the partisan crowd doing its best to urge Shapovalov on, Thiem finished the Canadian off with an ace. He waved to the crowd and tapped his heart as he exited the court.

“It’s a tough one,” Shapovalov said. “I showed myself that my level’s there, that I’m able to compete against a player like this and have chances to beat him.”

The Canadian snapped a five-match losing streak — and a 2-9 run dating back to March — with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round of the US$5.7-million ATP Tour Masters 1000 series event on Monday.

Despite the disappointing result, he said his two matches in Montreal should serve as a confidence boost.

Shapovalov, who took a break from tennis before the Rogers Cup, lost in the round of 16 at last year’s tournament in Toronto, where the women’s bracket is being held in 2019.

“It was great to be back out there just fighting,” he said. “It was a lot of fun to kind of go out there, play against a great player like Dominic, really put it to the test, see what damage I can do.”

“If a couple of shots had went my way, I could have definitely won the match. It’s obviously a little tough to swallow.”

The 25-year-old Thiem — ranked No. 4 in the world behind Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer — was coming off a victory on clay at the Generali Open in his native Austria.

Thiem has won three tournaments in 2019, including two on clay, but hadn’t competed in a hardcourt event since March.

Thiem did, however, defeat Shapovalov 6-2, 6-3 on a hardcourt in Mexico last year in their only other meeting.

Nadal the top seed and defending champion, downed Great Britain’s Daniel Evans 7-6 (6), 6-4 to advance to the third round in a match delayed by rain three times.

It was Nadal’s tournament opener, with the top-8 seeds all getting first-round byes.

After rain delays of six and 30 minutes, the Spaniard fought off two set points in the first-set tiebreaker before prevailing.

Play was again stopped for one hour 56 minutes with Nadal leading the 53rd-ranked Evans 2-0 in the second set. The match lasted two hours one minute, excluding rain delays.

“All the matches are difficult here,” said Nadal, a four-time Rogers Cup champion and the world No. 2. “It was a tough first set. Then in the second, I was able to take advantage at the beginning, but then he broke me back.”

In other action, Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz stunned No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, France’s Richard Gasquet upset fifth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4), and Chile’s Cristian Garin downed No. 12 John Isner of the United States 6-3, 6-4.

No. 6 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia defeated Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-0, No. 10 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain got past Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 7-5, and No. 14 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia moved on with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Australia’s John Millman.

Hometown favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic, the top-ranked Canadian on tour at No. 19, were scheduled to headline Wednesday’s evening session.

Auger-Aliassime (No. 21) downed Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3) in a nervy affair Tuesday to advance.

Set to turn 19 on Thursday, Auger-Aliassime fired nine aces, but committed seven double faults to go along with a number of unforced errors.

Raonic, meanwhile, had a much easier time.

The 28-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., breezed through Monday’s 6-4, 6-4 victory over France’s Lucas Pouille thanks to a booming serve that produced 16 aces.

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