#NextGenATP Rule The Day In Delray
The 18-year-old left-hander advanced to his first quarter-final of the season on Thursday, beating 21-year-old Jared Donaldson 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 25 minutes.
Shapovalov, the youngest player in the draw, has toughed his way through two tricky matches in Delray Beach. The Canadian prevailed past the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in his opener.
“I definitely picked up my serve in the second and third set... It was a really even match. We were both playing extremely well,” Shapovalov said. “I've been in this position before. Last year I was coming up with a lot of 'W's in late third sets but it's definitely a big confidence booster for me. I'm starting to get a little bit of momentum, getting a lot of matches under my belt, so I'm happy.”
Shapovalov, who was named the 2017 Star Of Tomorrow presented by Emirates for being the youngest player in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings, and Donaldson both competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, but they didn't meet there. Thursday was their first tour-level meeting.
“I just think Denis is a better player than me right now. He serves really well and the games that he put a lot of pressure on my serve I wasn't able to get out of those games. I think it just comes down to a few points and he won them,” said Donaldson, who was broken at 4-4 in the third set.
“There were a lot of times in the match where I was down and he had break points, and it could have really gone either way, and I came up in those moments in the match and that really made the difference,” said Fritz, who saved six of eight break points.
The Fritz-Shapovalov #NextGenATP quarter-final will be their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Fritz won their only previous encounter when they were juniors. Both players are eligible to compete at the 21-and-under Next Gen ATP Finals and have been prominently featured in the ATP World Tour's #NextGenATP campaign.
With Reilly Opelka and Frances Tiafoe also advancing, it becomes just the second time four #NextGenATP players have reached the last eight of an ATP World Tour event. The only prior time it occurred was at last year's BB&T Atlanta Open where Opelka, Yoshihito Nishioka, Nick Kyrgios and Fritz made the quarter-finals.