NEW YORK • The US Open looked to be all about the golden oldies Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. But the year's final Grand Slam has a new wave vibe led by Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who advanced into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows on Friday.
While Federer and Nadal, who have a combined age of 67 and won 34 Grand Slam titles, can still pull in a big crowd, they have to share the spotlight with the young guns, none of whom are of legal age to celebrate their success with a drink in New York.
Shapovalov, whom former world No. 1 Mats Wilander has described as a combination of Federer and Nadal, is the leader of the tennis boy band that includes 19-year-old Americans Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz and Russian Andrey Rublev.
The charismatic 18-year-old Canadian has infatuated the New York crowds with his skill and on-court panache that have made him the youngest man to make it into the fourth round of the US Open since American Michael Chang in 1989.
His feat happened when Kyle Edmund quit their third-round tie with a neck injury. Shapovalov was ahead 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 when the British player retired, and will next face Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta today for a spot in the quarter-finals.
"We're definitely making an impact," said Shapovalov. "There are a lot of young guys coming up and doing really well. I said it before, I think in a year or two, the rankings are really going to change.
"It's kind of a transition time for the ATP, but, yeah, I think there is a lot of talent coming up."
Men's 3rd rd
Sam Querrey (USA) bt Radu Albot (Mda) 4-6 6-2 6-4 6-4, Mischa Zverev (Ger) bt John Isner (USA) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5), Denis Shapovalov (Can) bt Kyle Edmund (Gbr) 3-6 6-3 6-3 1-0 ret, Pablo Carreno-Busta (Esp) bt Nicolas Mahut (Fra) 6-3 6-4 6-3, Lucas Pouille (Fra) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz) 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-4, Diego Schwartzman (Arg) bt Marin Cilic (Cro) 4-6 7-5 7-5 6-4.
Women's 3rd rd
Carla Suarez Navarro (Esp) bt Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) 6-1 3-6 6-3, Venus Williams (USA) bt Maria Sakkari (Gre) 6-3 6-4, Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Caroline Garcia (Fra) 6-0 6-4, Garbine Muguruza (Esp) bt Magdalena Rybarikova (Svk) 6-1 6-1, Sloane Stephens (USA) bt Ashleigh Barty (Aus) 6-2 6-4, Anastasija Sevastova (Lat) bt Donna Vekic (Cro) 6-2 6-3, Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Sofia Kenin (USA) 7-5 6-2.
The Israel-born Shapovalov is making the headlines for the right reasons, having been better known before the summer hardcourt season for being defaulted from a Davis Cup tie for accidentally firing a ball into the eye of an umpire.
His stunning triumph over Nadal helped him make the semi-finals of the Montreal Masters, which in turn thrust him to a career-high ranking of No. 67 just two weeks ago.
At the end of last year, he had been at No. 250 in the world and at the start of Montreal, he was at No. 143. His run to the last four in Canada also made him the lowest-ranked player to manage such a feat at a Masters event in 14 years.
"I did have that confidence that I can make it this far, but, you know, to be honest, this whole season has been going really quickly for me," Shapovalov added.
"My goal was to be inside the 150 by the end of the year when I had started, and, you know, now top 50 seems doable."
More veterans fell by the wayside on Friday, as Diego Schwartzman shocked Marin Cilic in four sets, leaving one half of the men's draw depleted of major stars.
Schwartzman beat Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4, to advance to the fourth round of a Grand Slam event for the first time.
The tournament began without injured stars like Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic, and now the highest seed left in Shapovalov's and Schwartzman's side of the draw is 12th seed Carreno Busta.
In the women's draw, Maria Sharapova has shrugged off Caroline Wozniacki's criticism of organisers for giving the Russian centre-court billing in her return to Grand Slam tennis after a doping ban.
Defeated by Ekaterina Makarova on an outside court in the second round, Wozniacki lashed organisers for scheduling Sharapova at Arthur Ashe Stadium in her opening matches.
"As you know, I don't make the schedules," Sharapova told reporters after beating American teenager Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-2 to reach the fourth round.
"I'm a pretty big competitor. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I'm happy to play there.
"All that matters to me is I'm in the fourth round. I'm not sure where she is."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES
US OPEN Day 7
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