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Rain washes away most of Day 1 action at Jarry Tennis Centre

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Denis Shapovalov’s match was halted in the second-set tiebreak, after the Canadian had lost the first set to Australian Alex de Minaur.

Author of the article:

Pat Hickey  •  Montreal Gazette

Left-hander Denis Shapovalov has won only one of his last nine matches. He was in a second-set tiebreak Monday evening when rain halted play.
Left-hander Denis Shapovalov has won only one of his last nine matches. He was in a second-set tiebreak Monday evening when rain halted play. Photo by Eric Bolte /USA TODAY Sports

Can Denis Shapovalov find a way to win a tennis match?

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We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find the answer to that question.

The pride of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Australian Alex de Minaur were locked in a battle of closely matched 23-year-olds when a torrential downpour halted first-round action at the National Bank Open Monday evening. The match in IGA Stadium will resume Tuesday afternoon, with de Minaur leading 7-5, 6-6 and the tiebreaker deadlocked at 3-3. It will be the third match on centre court after matches featuring Canadian wild cards Vasek Pospisil and Alexis Galarneau. Pospisil plays Tommy Paul of the U.S. at 11 a.m. and Laval native Galarneau will face 15th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

Shapovalov, who has been touted as a future Grand Slam champion, has had difficulty winning matches since he beat Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 in Rome in early May.

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While the left-hander insisted Sunday that he is playing well, he conceded the results haven’t been there and he has won only one of his last nine matches.

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The first set offered a microcosm of Shapovalov’s performance over the past three months. His serve was magnificent over the first five service games, as he put 81 per cent of his first serves in play and won 21 of 24 points on his serve. Needing a hold in the 12th game to force a tiebreaker, his game broke down. He served his fifth ace early in the game, but two loose points allowed de Minaur to bring the game to deuce and the Australian won the next two points for the break and the set.

Shapovalov gained an early advantage in the second set when he broke de Minaur in the third game and then fought off two break points in the next game by delivering two unreturnable serves. De Minaur pulled even at 4-4  when Shapovalov double-faulted on break point.

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The up-and-down nature of Shapovalov’s game was on display in the tiebreaker as well. He reeled off three consecutive forehand winners to take a 3-1 lead, but let de Minaur draw even with two errors.

Rain proved to be a headache at both ends of Monday’s schedule. There was a five-hour delay to start the day session. The rain was forecast to resume at 6 p.m., but it held off long enough to provide the evening crowd with some entertainment, even if there was an unsatisfactory and wet conclusion.

Two other matches were suspended by the rain and eight matches were postponed. The result is a busy scheduled for Tuesday with organizers moving the start ahead one hour to 11 a.m. while hoping the weatherman’s prediction of morning showers is wrong.

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Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka looked uncomfortable in his first hard-court match since last March and he dropped a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 decision to Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland. A three-time Grand Slam champion, the 37-year-old Wawrinka is coming back from a left foot injury that sidelined for most of last year.

Russian Karen Khachanov outlasted Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3; Jenson Brooksby of the U.S. defeated Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 and Alec Molcan of Slovakia eliminated  Mackenzie McDonald of the U.S. 7-6 (1), 6-4.

phickey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/zababes1

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  1. Laval's Alexis Galarneau is hoping to build on his strong performance last week, when he reached the final of an ATP Challenger event in Winnipeg, during next week's National Bank Open in Montreal.

    Laval’s Alexis Galarneau hoping to make his mark at Jarry Tennis Centre

  2. Vasek Pospisil, who hails from Vernon, B.C., reached a career-high No. 25 in 2014 and advanced to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon a year later.

    Healthy again, Vasek Pospisil eyes spot in top 50 of ATP rankings

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