ATP Miami: Denis Shapovalov comes from set down to topple Frances Tiafoe
Facing each other for the third time, the 20th seed Denis Shapovalov took down the first-time Masters 1000 quarter-finalist Frances Tiafoe 6-7, 6-4 6-2 in two hours and 15 minutes, playing better and better to bring the match home and move into the semis.
The 19-year-old Canadian has become only the sixth teenager with three Masters 1000 semi-final appearances after Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt, Andrei Medvedev, Andy Murray and Pete Sampras, counting to already 25 Masters 1000 wins to join Nadal, Medvedev and Roddick o that feat!
The Canadian lost just 25 points on serve, fending off five out of six break points and staying focused after a tight opening set and overpowering another youngster to secure the place in the semis. Frances lost the ground after that tie break he won, suffering two breaks of serve in sets two and three to stand on the losing side and end his best Masters 1000 run in the quarters.
Nothing could separate them in the opening ten games and Tiafoe was the first to make damage on the return creating a break point at 5-5 that Denis fended off with a booming ace, closing the game with a couple of winners to gain confidence.
Frances believed in his strokes too, saving a set point on serve in the next game after a loose forehand from the Canadian and opening a 5-2 and 6-4 lead in the tie break. Denis got the mini-break back although the American placed a deep return that forced an error from his opponent, taking the breaker 7-5 and moving a set away from the first semi-final at this level.
Tables turned in set number two and it was Shapovalov who won 17 out of 21 points to open a 5-1 lead, breaking Frances at 15 in game three, holding with an ace and breaking at love in game five when Tiafoe sprayed a backhand error.
Denis saved two break points to forge a 5-1 lead and he wasted four set points on the return in the game that followed, keeping Frances in the set and losing serve in the eighth game to bring the American back to 4-5. Serving for the set for the second time, Shapovalov held at love with four winners in game ten for a 6-4 and the momentum before the decider where he was the favorite now.
Tiafoe struggled more and more on serve, falling on the fourth break chance given to Denis in the third game of the third set and falling 5-2 down after a forced error caused by a solid return from the Canadian who was now serving for the win.
Saving a break point with an ace, Denis hit two more unreturned serves to cross the finish line and march into the last four where he will face Roger Federer.