MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Somewhere around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Denis Shapovalov earned a spot in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open.
It was about 12 hours after his countryman and friend Félix Auger-Aliassime did the same.
No pressure. But the next goal for the two Canadian teens, on opposite sides of the draw, will be to do what their predecessors did back in 2013.
That’s when Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, then 22 and 23, both reached the Masters 1000 semifinals in Montreal. They ended up playing each other; Raonic won in a third-set tiebreak.
Early Wednesday morning Shapovalov needed a third-set tiebreak to get past No. 9 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
The two have played on the pro tour. But this match harkened back to one of the finest junior matches in recent years, when the two met in the 2016 Wimbledon boys’ singles semifinals.
Shapovalov won that one as well. And he went on to beat Alex de Minaur in the final and win the title.
Three years later, both are all grown up, and in the top 25 in the ATP Tour rankings.
Ridiculous level of tennis
The future is now in men’s tennis, and these two obviously are right in the middle of it.
Between Shapovalov’s win over Andrey Rublev in the previous round, and this one in the fourth round, the pace of ball was brutish, the speed and reaction time of the players impressive and the overall level really off the charts.
That was especially impressive Tuesday night, as a couple of rain delays pushed back the schedule. And, indeed, the Roger Federer match against Daniil Medvedev scheduled for the main stadium was cancelled altogether.
It was almost 11:30 pm by the time time Shapovalov and Tsitsipas took the court.
Despite that, there were an impressive number of fans on hand on the Grandstand to watch them. They knew what potential this match had.
It did not disappoint.
At nearly 2 a.m., here’s Shapovalov afterwards talking about the present, the past with Tsitsipas and the future (by the delivery of the questions, you can tell the interviewer was more tired than Shapovalov was! Being 19 is fabulous).