04:00 PM GMT October 01, 2018
Denis Shapovalov lost to Hyeon Chung in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting at last year’s inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals. But the 19-year-old Canadian got his revenge on Monday, defeating the South Korean 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to advance to the second round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018.
“I’m definitely really happy with how I handled myself mentally. I didn’t let myself get out of my bubble too much. It was a really tough match against Hyeon and I knew going in that it was going to be very difficult,” Shapovalov said. “I’m really happy with the first round.”
Shapovalov has now won at least one match at nine consecutive tour-level events, and he will try to reach his fifth quarter-final of the season when he faces former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka or fellow #NextGenATP player Taylor Fritz.
Watch Two Shapovalov Hot Shots
“I definitely am not thinking about that. I’m just taking it one match at a time, as always,” Shapovalov said of his consistency. “I think I’ve had really good preparations in every tournament that I’ve played, especially the past couple months having my mom by my side. She always makes me do that extra little bit more that just helps me get prepared even better for these tournaments and early in the stages. I’m definitely really happy with where I am in terms of the season. Hopefully I can keep going and keep playing well.”
The World No. 31 struck 14 aces and saved six of the seven break points he faced to oust Chung after one hour and 51 minutes. The Canadian was especially strong under pressure in the deciding set, when he saved all four break points held against him and broke Chung at both of his opportunities to move through in his Tokyo debut.
“It was just one or two points today. It was really close,” Shapovalov said. “If he breaks me in the third set, he was probably going to run away with the win. But I managed to stay strong, win my service games and I really turned the match, so I was really happy.”