A day for the younger generation at Rome Open
Canada’s 29-year old Denis Shapovalov defeated 32-year old Tomas Berdych 1/6; 6/3; 7/6 in classic match that lasted almost two hours at the Rome Open yesterday.
In the third set, both players held serve. Down 4-5 in the third, Shapovalov had two game points at 40-15 but two missed first serves brought him to deuce.
He made the first advantage point and clinched the game. The Czech veteran held the 11th game without dropping a point on his serve. Shapovalov needed to hold to remain in the match and he lost only one point before leveling six-all.
In the tie-break, Berdych lost the first point on serve and Shapovalov held to lead by three points. He took one of his opponent’s service points to lead 4-1.
After the changeover at 4-2, both players dropped a point on successive serves and Shapovalov led 5-2. Berdych closed the gap and leveled but dropped the eleventh point on his serve.
Shapovalov delivered a winner at match point to win the set 7/6. Once again, youth prevailed. He leveled their career head-to-head record to 1-1. The dazzling southpaw is in his second year on the tour, while Berdych turned professional in 2002.
In other matches, the pattern remained the same, as youth prevailed over age. In the first match on Central Court, 24-year old Lucas Pouille of France defeated Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6/2; 3/6; 7/6 (3).
In the NextGen Arena, Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvilli outlasted Fillipo Baldi, /4; 4/6; 6/4. Seppi entered the draw as a wild card entrant, which is the benefit of playing in home country.
The Frenchman secured the first set on two breaks of his opponent’s serve. In the second set, there was a reversal as the experienced Seppi fought back to level.
The third set was all on serve. In the ensuing tie break, the younger player prevailed by winning the game with seven points to three.
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