PARIS — Canada is without a player in the men’s draw at the French Open after Denis Shapovalov lost his first-round match 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-4 to Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday.
Shapovalov, the 20th seed from Richmond Hill, Ont., started strong, winning the first three games and up 40-30 in game 4 with the chance for a second break.
But the German battled back, saving the fourth game and breaking in the fifth. He then dominated the tiebreak, setting the tone by taking the first four points. Shapovalov made 26 unforced errors in the set, including four in the tiebreak.
Struff cruised from that point, converting his only break-point opportunity in the second set while not having to save a break point, then breaking Shapovalov twice in the third.
"I had a good start. Had a chance to go up two breaks. Didn’t take it. And he really raised his game [after that]," Shapovalov said. "You know, I think I did everything I could today. I was fighting, but he was really picking his spots especially in the big points.
"He came up with some crazy shots. So credit to him. He played a great match today."
In women’s action, a match between Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., and Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic was suspended due to darkness tied at one set each.
Both Struff and Shapovalov had eight aces in the match, though Struff had a 5-1 advantage in the third set.
Struff was good on 62 per cent of first serves to Shapovalov’s 61, and both players had 38 winners. But Shapovalov was hurt by his 44 unforced errors, 11 more than his opponent.
Shapovalov’s loss capped a disappointing end to what was looking like a promising Canadian contingent in the men’s draw at Roland Garros before seeded players Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime withdrew due to injury.
Shapovalov had an inconsistent European clay-court season, going 2-6 on a stretch that started with a loss to Struff in Monte Carlo.
"It’s just not clicking," Shapovalov said. "I don’t think that it’s anything specific. I think I’m putting in the work. I think my game is there, but it just hasn’t been clicking in the matches. You know, I’ve got some tough draws, some bad luck with that. For the most part, I’ve been playing some good matches."
Andreescu was coming off a long layoff due to a muscle tear in the rotator cuff of her right shoulder. She hadn’t played since March 25, when she retired in a fourth-round match with Anett Kontaveit at the Miami Open. That ended a fantastic run for the 18-year-old that included a victory at the prestigious Indian Wells tournament.
Andreescu’s rust was evident against Bouzkova with 42 unforced errors. But in what was a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance, Andreescu also had 38 winners to 14 for Bouzkova.
After losing the first set, Andreescu drew even in a wild second set that saw nine consecutive breaks. Andreescu’s win in the deciding 10th game was the only hold of the set.
The decisive third set will be played Tuesday, when Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., is set to face 27th seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.