Shapovalov beats Opelka, advances to fourth round at Australian Open

Here's the highlights, as 14th seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov ousts American Reilly Opelka in four sets, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the Round of 16 Down Under for the first time in his career.

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Canada's Denis Shapovalov has a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career.

He beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to set up a showdown with third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany.

The Canadian has been pushed hard at Melbourne Park, averaging three hours 37 minutes of court time per win so far.

``I've gotten very familiar with the ice baths the last week,'' Shapovalov said with a smile in an on-court interview. ``We've become very good friends.''

At six foot 11 and 225 pounds, Opelka is an imposing force on the court. He had a 17-10 edge in aces on the 14th-seeded Shapovalov but made 46 unforced errors.

``Early on I actually found a rhythm on his serve,'' Shapovalov said. ``I was able to chip quite a lot back, so I was happy with that. I think I did a really good of just taking the chances today.

``Obviously it's really tough to get the rhythm against a guy like that so I'm super happy.''

It was the first career meeting between Shapovalov and the 23rd-seeded American. Zverev, meanwhile, has a 4-2 edge in head-to-head matchups against the Canadian.

``Hopefully I can win,'' Zverev said. ``It's going to be a great match.''

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., previously reached the third round at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021. The 22-year-old's best Grand Slam performance was a semifinal showing last year at Wimbledon.

Zverev defeated Maldova's Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in third-round play.

``Radu is in great form right now ... 1/8 I'm 3/8 happy to be through in three sets,'' Zverev said.

Ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was scheduled to play Britain's Daniel Evans in third-round play Saturday.

Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov teamed up to lead Canada to a win in the ATP Cup earlier this month in Australia.

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