Denis Shapovalov continues his smooth transition from hard courts to clay, ending qualifier Pedro Martinez’s four-match streak in straight sets at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday. The 12th seed prevailed 6-4, 6-4 to book a place in the third round.
In a first ATP Head2Head meeting between the pair, three breaks were traded before the Canadian carried the advantage to clinch the opening set. The Spaniard – who had beaten Sam Querrey for his first ATP Masters 1000 match win on Monday – snatched an early 3-0 lead the second set, but Shapovalov soon exposed the gap of 95 places in the FedEx ATP Rankings to reel off six of the last games.
While he only won 57 per cent of his first-serve points for the match, he sealed a third-round berth in one hour and 42 minutes. The 21-year-old next meets Italian No. 7 seed Fabio Fognini or Frenchman Ugo Humbert for a place in the quarter-finals.
Shapovalov arrived in Rome coming off his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final appearance at the US Open. He showed no signs of struggling to adapt to the slower clay-court conditions in back-to-back straight-sets wins, having accounted for Argentine Guido Pella in the opening round.