Taylor Fritz Stuns Fourth Seed Denis Shapovalov at Qatar Open 2021

Published 03/11/2021, 9:27 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021 Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during his third round match against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


World No.11 Denis Shapovalov was ousted from the ATP Qatar Open 2021 by unseeded American, Taylor Fritz. The fourth seed lost out in three sets as the scorecard read-7-5, 3-6, 5-7.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021, Canada’s Denis Shapovalov reacts during his third round match against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

First Set: Taylor Fritz doesn’t take a single point off Denis Shapovalov’s serve

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The first set saw both the players serving well. Even though 12 games were played in the set, it ended in just 37 minutes. The rallies were short as both the players were neck and neck. Shapovalov especially got his forehand going quickly. In the first two games itself he had a handful of forehand winners.

Mistakes were kept to a minimum as the set was evenly poised at 4-4. Shapovalov’s serve was very dominant. Both the players were playing high on winners from the baseline.

The cagey first set saw its first breakpoint at 5-5 on Fritz’s serve. A second break point was needed to break Fritz’s serve. Later, Shapovalov completed a clean sweep of service games as he won the set 7-5.

Taylor Fritz’s comeback

Fritz changed his game plan by going a bit defensive. He was enticing Shapovalov to hit flat winners. The American was defending more and thus extended the rallies. This paid off as he not only won his first point of Shapovalov’s serve, he broke in the first game itself to lead the second set 2-0.

That was one blip in Shapovalov‘s serve. Fritz then organized a disciplined game plan, which was enough to keep Shapovalov at bay. Though Shapovalov didn’t give a single point on his serve after getting broken, he couldn’t save the set, Fritz won the second set 6-3.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021 Taylor Fritz of the U.S. reacts during his third round match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Taylor Fritz third-time lucky against Denis Shapovalov

The third set was nervy. Shapovalov’s forehand was destabilized, and that was enough for Fritz to break him in the first game. But Shapovalov also hung in and tried to get the break back. Fritz continued a good combo of attack and defense to save his serves.

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At 4-3, Shapovalov and Fritz played a long rally which asked them to play all strokes. In the end, Shapovalov won the point with a delicate drop shot. He got two break points in that game, but Fritz managed to save them to take a 5-3 lead in the decider.

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Serving for the match at 5-4, Fritz stared at two match points. But a strong mini-comeback gave Shapovalov the break and level the decider for the first time. But in desperation to finish off his service game, Shapovalov made costly errors and handed the break back to Fritz. The American was third-time lucky as he converted his third match point to seal the third set and match, 7-5.

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Bhavishya Mittal

980 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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