Canada’s Denis Shapovalov fell just short of a major upset against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open on Thursday.
The Spanish star rallied from a break down in both the second and third sets to beat Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in a third-round match at the ATP Masters 1000 clay-court event that lasted three hours 27 minutes.
A 13-time French Open champion and a 20-time Grand Slam winner, Nadal is widely considered the best clay-court player in history.
The 13th-seeded Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., failed to convert on two match points on Nadal’s serve with a 6-5 lead in the third set.
In the second set, Shapovalov was up 3-1 and had a 40-0 lead on serve in the ensuing game before the second-seeded Nadal stormed back for a break to get back into the match.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime lost 7-6 (3), 6-1 to Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis in another third-round match.