‘Novak Djokovic is a marvelous player, but I had my chances,’ says Denis Shapovalov

Heading to the grass swing with only a few good results this season, the young gun Denis Shapovalov was eager to show his best tennis on the fastest surface and improve his top-10 chances. The Canadian reached the semi-final at Queen’s and survived Philipp Kohlschreiber clash in the Wimbledon opening round before earning his first Major semi-final. Denis toppled Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista Agut and Karen Khachanov to enter the last four and set an ultimate clash against world no. 1 Novak Djokovic. Playing on a high level, Shapovalov had his chances in all three sets but made costly errors in the pivotal moments to suffer a 7-6, 7-5, 7-5 loss after two hours and 44 minutes. After the match, the Canadian stated that he can play against any rival on any surface, gathering self-confidence and liking what he showed against Djokovic, despite a painful loss. Novak won 11 points more than Denis and had the upper hand behind the second serve and in the crucial moments to seal the deal in straight sets and avoid a possible marathon.

Shapovalov gave his best to follow Djokovic’s pace, serving for the opening set and fading from the court in the closing stages of sets two and three to finish his run in the last four. Novak had 32 winners and 15 unforced errors, defending ten out of 11 break chances and securing three breaks that pushed him over the finish line. Shapovalov fired 40 winners and over 30 mistakes, unable to control his strokes more efficiently and keep the focus when it mattered the most, despite a great effort. Denis grabbed a break in the opener’s third game after forcing Novak’s error.

Denis Shapovalov spoke about a tight Wimbledon clash against Novak Djokovic.

The Canadian performed three perfect service games to move 5-3 in front, serving for the set at 5-4. Suddenly, Novak broke back in the last moment to level the score at 5-5 and gain massive momentum. The Serb won it 7-3 after taking all five return points, as Denis spoiled his chances with a double fault in the last point. Djokovic was under pressure again in the second set, surviving five break chances in games four and six and raising his level after that. Shapovalov’s serve worked like a charm until the point where he had no room for errors, which was not easy to overcome. At 5-5, the Canadian got broken following another costly double fault, and the Serb closed the set a few minutes later for a massive advantage. They both wasted return chances at the beginning of the third set, and it was all about Novak after that, serving well and waiting for an opportunity in Denis’ games. Shapovalov survived at 3-3 but could not in the 11th game, just like in the previous set. Djokovic broke him to open a 6-5 lead and sealed the deal with another impressive hold to book a place in the 30th Major final.

“At Wimbledon, I showed everyone that I can compete against anyone. My level was high against Novak Djokovic; I thought I could reach the final and fight for the title. Still, I had a marvelous player in front of me. Novak does not always play at his best, but he has that winning aura of great champions that often carries him through. I feel like a player with a lot of self-confidence after having a chance to reach the Wimbledon final. I can compete against anyone on any surface,” Denis Shapovalov said.