Canadian Shapovalov upsets top seed Nadal at Rogers Cup

Denis Shapovalov basks in the glory of upsetting Rafael NadalOf the five Canadians to qualify for the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Denis Shapovalov seemed like an afterthought. The 18-year-old lacked the resume of sixth-seeded Milos Raonic, and the experience of Vasek Pospisil and Peter Polansky, but Shapovalov was the last one left after two rounds, and he pulled off a stunning upset of top seed Rafael Nadal on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals.

Shapovalov entered the tournament without much success on tour this year. His ATP record was 1-4, and his last appearance was a first-round defeat at Wimbledon. But Shapovalov rallied to beat Rogerio Dutra Silva in the first round and took down 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets in the second, setting up a third-round meeting with Nadal while Raonic suffered a disappointing loss to Adrian Mannarino and Polansky was knocked out by second-seeded Roger Federer.

As the No. 2 ranked men’s tennis player in the world, Nadal had a lot riding on the Rogers Cup. No. 1 ranked Andy Murray is dealing with a hip injury, which opened an opportunity for Nadal to claim the top spot if he could advance to the semifinals in Montreal. He looked comfortably on his way after taking the first set against Shapovalov 6-3, but the teenager gained an early advantage on Nadal in the second set and held on to win 6-4. The third set required a tiebreaker, which Nadal led 3-0 early on, but Shapovalov battled back again to become the youngest quarterfinalist ever at a Masters series event.

Shapovalov will face Mannarino in the quarterfinals on Friday, and due to the draw he won’t have to worry about Federer unless he makes it to the finals. Even if Shapovalov doesn’t make it that far, his upset over Nadal could be enough to earn him a world top 100 ranking, and his age suggests he’s just getting started.