Zverev sets up Federer final after topping Shapovalov

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Montreal

Denis Shapovalov’s fairytale run was ended by in-form star Alexander Zverev, who battled through to the final of the ATP Rogers Cup. Canadian teenager Shapovalov captured the imagination of an entire country, after upstaging top seed and 15-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal as well as Juan Martin del Potro en route to the semi-finals in Montreal. But the 18-year-old was unable to overcome the hurdle of fourth seed Zverev, who prevailed 6-4 7-5 on Saturday.
In a glimpse of the future, 20-year-old Zverev – a four-time winner on the ATP Tour this season – needed three match points to see off Shapovalov and earn a showdown with Roger Federer in a repeat of the Halle decider, which the latter won in straight sets. It was an even contest in the first set, Shapovalov and Zverev going toe-to-toe until the ninth game.
Shapovalov double-faulted as he crumbled for the first time, handing Zverev a 5-4 lead, and the German served out the set. As has so often been the case during the tournament, Shapovalov was not overawed, sticking to his aggressive style, much to the delight of the crowd. And Shapovalov almost struck in the seventh game, but he wasted three break points at 0-40.
Zverev was as cold as ice from that point, though Shapovalov battled, claiming the decisive break for a 6-5 lead to silence the partisan stadium. There was one last rally from Shapovalov, who saved two match points and earned three break point opportunities of his own, though Zverev fended off all of them. Shapovalov sprayed a forehand wide and it gave Zverev a third chance to close out the match and he did. Swiss superstar Roger Federer turned in a precision performance Saturday at the ATP Montreal tennis, using thundering serves and clever backhands to defeat unseeded Robin Haase for a spot in the final.
The 36-year-old Federer blasted nine aces and lost just nine points on his serve as he extended his match win streak to 16—his longest win streak in five years. He raised his game to another level when it mattered most, beating Netherlands Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in just 75 minutes.
“I’m very excited to be back in the finals,” Federer said. “A bit surprising, to be quite honest, because I hadn’t practiced much.”
Federer has taken more time off this year than usual. He skipped the clay-court season from April to mid-June.
“I came from vacation, did some fitness, saw how I was feeling and said, ‘You know what, I practiced so much the last year, let’s go play some matches.’—AFP

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