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But such is life for the teenager tennis phenom, who not only shook off the rust from an ugly first set, but achieved another milestone in the process.
After dropping a lackluster first set 6-1, Shapovalov stormed back in the second, and then won in a tie-break in the third to take down Tomáš Berdych, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). With the victory, Shapovalov earned the requisite points to pass Milos Raonic in the ATP, becoming the highest-ranked Canadian male player.
Berdych needed only 30 minutes to dispatch the Canadian teen in the opening set in Rome, leading 5-0 off a pair of breaks before Shapovalov finally produced his first hold to get the deficit to 5-1. Shapovalov began to get his feet under him at that point — a pair of aces in that game — and earned his first break point of the match before Berdych battled back to finally put away Shapovalov and take the set.
The second was a very different story, though, and Shapovalov came out looking like a player who had built some confidence off his late surge in the first. The players traded holds to open the second, but Shapovalov broke at 2-1 and consolidated out to 4-1, using that lead to serve out the second set, 6-3.
Kerber has recovered from a thigh injury sustained at the Stuttgart Open last month and produced an impressive performance on the clay at Pietrangeli. The German controlled the first set, keeping Zarina Diyas at bay with a powerful serve.
However, the latter fought back in the second, eventually pushing the set into a tiebreak. It meant Kerber had to hold her nerve, something the 30-year-old managed well as she booked safe passage through to Round 3.
Kerber manufactured some excellent shots.
Things were easier for Svitolina, who made short work of Petra Martic on Court Centrale. It took the champion just over an hour to seal a straight-sets win.
Elsewhere, Danielle Collins needed a third set to get past Sorana Cirstea. Collins, who reached the last four at the Miami Open, proved her credentials to do even better on Rome clay after a skilled and determined performance.
Daria Kasatkina is also into the next round after seeing off Ajla Tomljanovic. Meanwhile, Timea Babos, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sakkari also progressed.
The latter entered Round 3 after beating Kiki Bertens. Despite reaching the final of the Madrid Open earlier this month, Bertens never settled in the Italian capital.
Instead, Sakkari won seventy percent of her break points. It was enough to send Bertens to a surprise early exit.
Jelena Ostapenko also progressed after an excellent win over Shuai Zhang. Ostapenko built her victory on an awesome forehand, like this one from early in the second set
The notable result in the men’s bracket came from Shapovalov beating Berdych. It took him three sets to do it, but Canadian Shapovalov stayed focused, despite losing three break points.
Berdych was able to break the Shapovalov serve, but also yielded eight aces to his opponents’ power. Having cruised to an opening-set victory, Berdych appeared to lose his intensity somewhat, as 19-year-old Shapovalov excelled on his Rome debut.
After winning 6-3 in the second, the teenager kept cool during the tiebreak in the third. In the process, Shapovalov achieved an early career milestone, per TSN’s Mark Masters
There was also a worthy win for ninth seed Goffin. The Belgian stumbled early against Marco Cecchinato but composed himself enough to power through the next two sets.
Goffin won the second and third 6-2 on a day defined by his ability to wreck the Cecchinato serve. In all, Goffin converted seven of 14 break points to frustrate his plucky opponent.
There was disappointment for Borna Coric, though, after the talented Croatian was forced to retire against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 21-year-old had fallen behind 4-1 in the opening set.
Tsitsipas is now set to face Juan Martin del Potro in the third round, while Del Potro’s fellow Argentinian Diego Schwartzman will face Benoit Paire after beating Nicolas Jarry in straight sets.
There’s a dubious reward for Nikoloz Basilashvili after he beat Filippo Baldi. Basilashvili now gets to face last year’s runner-up Novak Djokovic. One of the day’s more exciting matches involved Lucas Pouille surviving a scare against Andreas Seppi. The wild-card entrant rocked Pouille by winning the second set with room to spare, before pushing the third to a tiebreak.
Pouille held firm, though, seeing off Seppi despite the latter having the complete support of the crowd. A later match saw Jack Sock beaten by Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German toppled the 13th seed in straight sets because of the way he both held and broke serve.
Kohlschreiber held all eight break points he faced, while successfully converting each of the three he forced. Defending champion Alexander Zverev will be in action on Day 5, as will Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov. The women’s bracket will feature Simona Halep, Sharapova and Venus Williams.