Sixteen-Year-Old Shapovalov Enjoying Dream Week In Drummondville
The newest promising face in Canadian tennis may have been born this week, with Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov enjoying a dream run at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Drummondville.
The 16-year-old entered the main draw courtesy of a wild card, but has been making the most of his opportunity. Making just his second main draw appearance at an ATP Challenger Tour event, he dispatched fellow Canadian Felip Peliwo in the opening round, making him the first player born in the year 1999 to win a match on the ATP Challenger Tour. Shapovalov followed that win up with a shocking upset in the second round over No. 2 seed and World No. 101 Austin Krajicek. He then prevailed in the quarter-finals over No. 5 seed Renzo Olivo, when the Argentinian was forced to retire due to injury, setting the Canadian up for a semi-final showdown on Saturday against No. 4 seed Daniel Evans.
With his breakthrough run, Shapovalov has become the first 16-year-old to reach the semi-finals of a Challenger since Stefan Kozlov achieved that feat in Sacramento in October 2014.
"I'm very excited to have earned my first ATP Challenger Tour win, especially since it is in my home country," said Shapovalov. "I'm pleased to be having a great run this week, achieving some good wins over top players. I feel like the home crowd has helped me to get through some tough matches. I'm also very grateful to have a strong supporting team around me who have helped me in different ways to ensure that I stay on the right path."
Currently ranked No. 775 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Shapovalov has already climbed more than 300 spots since the start of the year. He is projected to jump another 200 spots in the rankings after his strong showing this week, but could move even higher if he reaches the finals in Drummondville or wins the tournament.
He now joins another fellow Canadian teenager, Felix Auger Aliassime, in making a rapid rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings. Fittingly, the pair teamed up to win the boys' doubles title at last year's US Open.
Shapovalov isn't the only Canadian player to enjoy success this week in Drummondville, though. He joined Philip Bester, Peter Polansky and Frank Dancevic in reaching the quarter-finals, marking the first time four Canadians advanced to the last eight of a Challenger event since Calgary in 1993.