Canadian Denis Shapovalov books semifinal spot at Chengdu Open

CHENGDU, China — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is off to the semifinals of the Chengdu Open.

The No. 8 seed from Richmond Hill, Ont., beat Egor Gerasimov of Belarus 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a quarterfinal on Friday at the ATP Tour 250 event.

It marks Shapovalov’s third semifinal appearance of the year. The world No. 34 can reach his first final of 2019 with a win over 63rd-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on Saturday.

“It feels great. I feel like I’m in good form, kind of getting over that jet leg now,” Shapovalov said.

Shapovalov won 85 per cent of points on first serve and notched nine aces against the 98th-ranked Gerasimov.

“It was tough today,” Shapovalov said. “Egor’s a very good player, a very good up-and-coming guy. It was difficult, it’s tough to read his serve and he’s pretty flashy. Tough match, so I’m really happy to get the win and be in another semis.”

Shapovalov, 20, has won eight of his past 10 matches after enduring a rocky stretch following a run to the Miami Open semis in March.

Shapovalov will move up to at least 32nd in the world rankings next week. He could move as high as 25th if he wins the tournament.

The Canadian is the lone seeded player remaining in the draw.

Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan faces lucky loser Lloyd Harris of South Africa in the other semifinal.

Bublik saved two match points and hit 35 aces to upset fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (3) Friday.

Bublik reached just his second ATP tour semifinal and denied Dimitrov his 300th match win in the process. He faced two match points in the second-set tiebreaker before converting his third set point and then raced out to a 3-0 lead in the decider. He failed to convert a match point at 5-4 but then took a 5-0 lead in the deciding tiebreaker.

“It’s been a good week for me, and beating Grigor is a great achievement for me,” Bublik said. “The second set tiebreaker was tough, I never thought about being match points down, but just playing my own game and serving well.”

At the Zhuhai Championships, Albert Ramos Vinolas upset third-seeded Gael Monfils of France 7-5, 6-4 to reach the last four. He will face Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who knocked out qualifier Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-1, 6-4 in just 78 minutes.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Andreas Seppi, improving his record to 4-0 against the Italian.

Up next is 20-year-old Alex de Minaur of Australia, who followed up his win over Andy Murray by beating fourth-seeded Borna Coric 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

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