LONDON — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov reached Wimbledon’s fourth round for the first time in his career and played All England Club spoiler by downing Britain’s Andy Murray in straight sets Friday.
Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., ousted the two-time Wimbledon champion 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the grass court Grand Slam’s round of 16.
“I expected the crowd to be for Andy,” Shapovalov said. “They were cheering for Andy, but, it was really, really cool.
“They were obviously very respectful, and I thought it was a lot of fun to just be out there.”
The 22-year-old Canadian was in control throughout the match in his debut at centre court with 13 aces and a 45-16 edge in winners.
“I think it’s probably one of my best performances even outside of Wimbledon,” Shapovalov said. “I think I definitely played really flawless today and just super solid.
“It was an incredible experience. It was a dream of mine to grow up one day and play on the centre court at Wimbledon. I have seen so many legends play there, and it’s always just been a huge goal of mine.
“To go out there today and to play a guy like Andy, who is also just such a legend, and to beat him today with the tennis I was playing, it was incredible for me.”
The 10th seed faces No. 8 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain on Monday. Agut reached the semifinals in 2019.
“Against Roberto, it’s another tough match,” Shapovalov said. “We have never played against each other.
“He’s a really tough opponent. He doesn’t give much to the other guy. It’s definitely a match I’m going to have to earn.”
Shapovalov took an early lead and won 6-of-11 break points in his first career match versus Murray, who won just 1-of-9.
The match paused after the second set to activate centre-court lights and complete the contest in two hours 17 minutes.
Murray is attempting a comeback after two hip operations. After two gruelling wins this week, the 34-year-old Scotsman was dominated by Shapovalov.
“If I’m going to put that much effort in, I want to be performing better than what I did here,” Murray said.
Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded 16th, takes on Nick Kyrgios of Australia in the third round Saturday.
Shapovalov moved into the third round via a walkover when Spaniard Pablo Andujar withdrew.
That gave the Canadian more recovery time from a five-set win over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber to open the tournament.
Shapovalov reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the third time in his career after the U.S. Open in 2020 and the Australian Open in 2017.
His previous best at Wimbledon was a second-round exit in 2018.
“We had made the call to skip French Open so that my shoulder can feel good for the grass and so that it can completely heal and I can have a better chance to play well with the grass,” Shapovalov said. “I think it was obviously the right call.
“I feel like throughout the years my game has improved on grass courts. It’s just been a matter of time. I still think there is so much room for me to grow on this surface and to get better.”
— With files from The Associated Press.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2021.
The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Shapovalov made it through to the quarterfinals.