Canadian Denis Shapovalov wins opener in Rome

ROME — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is off to the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

The 20-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., beat Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the opening round of the ATP Tour Masters 1000, clay-court event on Monday.

Shapovalov will face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the second round.

The win ended a four-match losing streak for the 22nd-ranked Shapovalov, who was 0-3 on clay in Europe since his run to the semifinals at the Miami Open, an ATP Masters 1000, hard-court tournament.

Shapovalov had a big edge on points won on second serve, converting on 75 per cent of his opportunities as compared to 43 per cent for the 43rd-ranked Carreno Busta.

Shapovalov converted just one of 12 break-point opportunities against his opponent, but it was enough for the win. Carreno Busta did not have one break-point chance against Shapovalov.

The result evened the all-time head-to-head series between the two at 1-1. Carreno Busta beat Shapovalov in the round of 16 at the 2017 U.S. Open.

Earlier, Montreal Felix Auger-Aliassime lost 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 to No. 13 seed Borna Coric of Croatia in a first-round match.

It was a bit of revenge for Coric, who lost to the 18-year-old Canadian in a Miami Open quarterfinal.

Auger-Aliassime hasn’t been able to duplicate his success from the South American clay-court swing on the same surface in Europe in advance of the French Open. The 30th-ranked Auger-Aliassime is now 3-4 since his run to the semis on the hard-courts of Miami.

The Canadian had just one break-point opportunity against Coric, who had 10 of his own on Auger-Aliassime’s serve.

Coric won 81 per cent of first-serve points, 13 percentage points higher than Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime is scheduled to play a French Open tuneup event in Lyon, France next week.

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