Shapovalov swears at crowd before surviving Italian Open opener against Sonego
ROME — Canadian Denis Shapovalov survived a harrowing opening match Monday at the Italian Open tennis tournament that saw him insult fans after he argued with the chair umpire. Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont.
ROME — Canadian Denis Shapovalov survived a harrowing opening match Monday at the Italian Open tennis tournament that saw him insult fans after he argued with the chair umpire.
Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., won the marathon match 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in just under three hours and 11 minutes.
Later Monday, Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., advanced to the women’s second round with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Shapovalov was leading 3-4 in the second set when he crossed the net to check a ball mark on Sonego’s side and was given a code violation.
Shapovalov, seeded 13, then called chair umpire Richard Haigh to his side of the court and pointed at a fan who was heckling him.
“I’m not going to fire him because I didn’t see what he was doing,” Haigh said. “I saw you talking to him and you kinda goaded him. I understand that you are frustrated.
As they argued, fans began to boo, prompting Shapovalov to shout “shut the (expletive)!”
Shapovalov apologized to Haigh after wrapping up the win.
“A lot of things happened in the heat of the moment. I have to improve my behavior,” Shapovalov said. “It was my mistake. I will know the rule for next time. I will definitely not step over the net.
Shapovalov reached the semi-finals in Rome two years ago, while Sonego made the last four last year.
Sonego said he was penalized with a decision in the first set when the referee went down to check a mark and overturned the rule, awarding the point to Shapovalov when the Italian thought the point should have been replayed.
There was also a questionable cancellation in the third set.
“Things like this shouldn’t happen,” Sonego said. “They should use video replay. It could be a big help for the referee.”
The video review was used to call the lines at last week’s Madrid Open. But such a system does not exist in Rome.
Despite the raucous fans, Shapovalov said he generally enjoys playing in Rome.
“The fans love me here and I love the fans,” he said. “Even after the game, there were a lot of people standing around, waiting for pictures, stuff like that.
“I’m super excited to play another game – not against an Italian.”
Shapovalov will face Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round on Tuesday.
Fernandez rallied from a set down to improve her career record against Pavlyuchenkova to 2-0.
The Canadian struggled in the opening set, where she was broken three times from five chances and won just 40.7% of service points.
Fernandez pulled herself together in the second, converting three of her six break point chances and winning 58.6% of the total points.
She completed the win with her best set of the match. Fernandez converted both of his break points and won 62.8% of the total points in the third.
Fernandez will next face Daria Kasatkina.
Pavlyuchenkova was playing only her second match since the Australian Open. She lost to Sara Sorribes Tormo in Madrid last week after missing 10 weeks with a knee injury.
The men’s eighth seed, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal, was scheduled to face Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., was scheduled to face the U.S. Open champion on Tuesday. US Open 2021, Emma Raducanu, from Great Britain.
– With files from the Associated Press.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 9, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Note to readers: Fixed typo in second paragraph (“from” not “form”)