Rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov blew a huge third-set lead but recovered just in time to eke out a 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6) victory over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki to reach the second round of the Miami Open tennis turnament.
In a match-up pitting one of tennis’ brightest and most exciting prospects against a 32-year-old ATP World Tour veteran, Shapovalov took an early 4-2 lead with a break in the sixth game and then wrapped up the first set with a forehand winner on the line here on Thursday, reports EFE news agency.
But Shapovalov made things complicated for himself by dropping his first service game of the second set to fall behind 2-0.
He broke back in the ensuing game but the players remained on serve until the tiebreaker, which Troicki won when the Canadian netted a forehand.
Shapovalov, however, appeared to take total control of the match when he broke Troicki’s serve in the fourth and sixth games of the third set to take a 5-1 lead.
He then had match point when serving at 40-30 in the seventh game but ended up losing that game and then getting broken once again at 5-3 to allow Troicki to get back on serve.
Shapovalov had three more match points on Troicki’s serve in the 10th game, but the Serbian saved them all to make the score 5-5.
The match came down to a third-set tiebreaker, in which Shapovalov jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Serbian rallied once again and earned his first match point at 6-5.
The 18-year-old Canadian saved it, however, with a serve-and-volley play and then clinched the victory two points later on a Troicki double fault at the two-hour, 27-minute mark.
Next up for the 46th-ranked Shapovalov in the second round will be Bosnian world No. 30 Damir Dzumhur, who is seeded No. 24 in Miami.
The Miami Open is one of the biggest hard-court tournaments on the men’s and women’s tennis calendars.