Thursday night, Denis Shapovalov delighted his home-country fans, upsetting top-seeded Rafael Nadal, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup, the US Open Series event in Montreal.
Here are five quick facts on this fast-rising 18-year-old:
- Shapovalov entered the Rogers Cup at No. 143 in the world but will soon join the Top 100. In addition to his upset of Nadal, he ousted world No. 64 Rogerio Dutra Silva in the first round and toppled former US Open champion and No. 31 Juan Martin del Potro in the second round.
- With his run, Shapovalov became the youngest player ever to reach a Masters 1000 quarterfinal. (Masters 1000 events started in 1990.) He is also the youngest player to reach the quarterfinals in Montreal since Bjorn Borg in 1974.
- Shapovalov thrives in front of his home fans. At least year’s Rogers Cup in Toronto, he upset Nick Kyrgios for what was, at the time, the biggest victory of his career.
- While his current run is a surprise, Shapovalov has been on the radar of tennis diehards for some time. He climbed to No. 2 in the world junior rankings last year after winning the Wimbledon boys’ title and reaching the semifinals of the boys’ singles at Roland Garros. And in 2015, he went 8-0 in Jr. Davis Cup play and won the US Open boys’ doubles with fellow Canadian rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime.
- The lefty, one of the rare young players with a one-handed backhand, was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and currently lives in the Bahamas. He started playing tennis at age 5 with his mom, Tessa, who currently coaches him alongside former Top 100 Canadian touring pro Martin Laurendeau.