Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is off to the semi-finals 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 quarter-final match 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 quarter-final.
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 semi-finals 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 semi-final.