Shapovalov survives shaky start at Mexican Open

Denis Shapovalov of Canada plays a backhand return to Hubert Hurkacz of Poland during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP)

Denis Shapovalov has advanced to the second round of the Mexican Open, but it looked early on that he might be bidding “Adios” to the fans watching the men’s singles match inside the Arena GNP Seguros.

The native of Richmond Hill, Ont., ranked 30th heading into the ATP Tour 500 series event, defeated Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-7, 6-0, 7-5 in a hard-court match that lasted two hours, 13 minutes.

Shapovalov was cruising along in the first set and was up 5-3 before the match was 20 minutes old. But Shapovalov committed several unforced errors and eventually lost 7-4 in the tiebreaker.

Shapovalov shook off the setback, refocused and easily won the second set 6-0. Then, he was a bit shaky in the final set before squeaking past Kecmanovic 7-5.

The Canadian finished with eight aces, seven double faults, 26 unforced errors and was only good on his first serve 55 per cent of the time. He won 12 service games and seven return games.

Shapovalov will next play third-seeded Taylor Fritz of San Diego, Calif., who earlier in the day defeated John Isner of Greensboro, N.C., 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.