Shapovalov edges Struff to book spot in Japan Open semifinals


Denis Shapovalov of Canada. (Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

TOKYO — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is off to the semifinals at the Japan Open.

The 19-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., saved one match point in a second-set tiebreaker and beat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 in a quarterfinal on Friday.

"In the third set, I felt a little bit more momentum," Shapovalov said. "I felt I was able to free up a bit more and I managed to get an early break and from there I just kind of ran with it."

A shot at a third career all-Canadian matchup between Shapovalov and Milos Raonic was denied when the Thornhill, Ont., veteran lost 7-6 (4), 6-3 to Daniil Medvedev of Russia in another quarterfinal.

The 31st-ranked Shapovalov next squares off with Medvedev, who has won two titles this season and is up to No. 32 in the rankings. Shapovalov is 2-0 against Medvedev.

The Canadian reached two semifinals earlier this season.

"It’s another opportunity for me to try to make my first final at an ATP event," Shapovalov said. "But honestly, like I always do, I take it one match at a time. I’m very happy to escape today and I have another tough match tomorrow … I’m not too focused on the situation. I’m just going to try to focus on the things that I could do well in terms of how I play tomorrow and what I do, my strengths and stuff like this."

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the No. 3 seed, will face No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet of France in the other semifinal.

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