Read & Watch: Haase's Canadian Love Affair Is Bad News For Shapo
Having taken the home Canadian crowd largely out of the match, Robin Haase just needed to hold his nerves, and he did, ensuring the Toronto faithful of a disappointing outcome: There will be no repeat of Denis Shapovalov's charming Rogers Cup semi-final run of a year ago.
The veteran Dutchman was steady when Shapovalov was erratic, benefitting from 42 Shapovalov unforced errors, including 24 from his forehand, to advance to the quarter-finals at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the second consecutive year 7-5, 6-2.
“Robin did a good job today of really playing with my game, and he played me really smart today,” said Shapovalov. “He was changing the pace a lot and playing me pretty slow, actually… It's been a really good week. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I really feel like I've found my game from a couple of months ago.”
Haase made the Rogers Cup semi-finals a year ago (l. to Federer), and he'll face Russian Karen Khachanov with a return trip on the line. The 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier beat eighth seed John Isner 7-6(5), 7-6(1) to improve to 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the No. 1 American. Khachanov lost only 11 points on serve (84 per cent; 58/69), and neither player was broken in the battle of big men.
For Haase, there must be something about the Great White North. In his 14 years on the ATP World Tour, he's reached three Masters 1000 quarter-finals, and two have come in Canada: 2017 Montreal and 2018 Toronto.
He did just enough to reach his fifth quarter-final of 2018, making Shapovalov hit one more shot again and again. The #NextGenATP Canadian had a chance to rally his home supporters at the start, leading 1-0, 0/40 on Haase's serve.
But Haase saved all four break points and withstood Shapovalov's power. Haase served out the third-rounder to 30 when the Canadian pushed a backhand wide.