Denis Shapovalov’s run at the Japan Open came to an end on Saturday after a 3-6, 7-6(5), 3-6 semifinal loss to Taylor Fritz.
The 26-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont. The native, who had just made a final appearance at the Korea Open last weekend, was yet to drop a set in Tokyo.
Shapovalov fired eight aces to Fritz’s six, but only shattered two of seven chances. The American was 4 of 6 on break point chances.
Fritz, who spent a week in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 in Seoul last week, fought back in the deciding set after leading 3-1 to claim victory.
WATCH | Shapovalov ousted by Fritz:
His win secured him a top 10 debut in next week’s leaderboard.
This will be Fritz’s third final this year, having won the other two in Indian Wells and Eastbourne.
In the other semi-final, Tiafoe added some more sparkle to his already brilliant season by beating South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo 6-2 0-6 6-4.
The American, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open in September, achieved his second breakthrough title of the season despite a poor second set in his win.
Kwon looked nervous at times in the opener and struggled to deal with Tiafoe’s deft mix of precision, touch and power as the American played five games in a row before winning the set 6-2. But the South Korean then swept the second set 6-0.
Tiafoe, seeded fourth, upped the ante in third, earning the two break points he needed to serve for the game at 5-2, only to stumble once more.
The American sealed the victory the second time to ask with a forehand cross.
Djokovic in the final in Astana
Novak Djokovic survived a second-set tiebreaker in the Astana Open semi-finals shortly after his opponent Daniil Medvedev retired with a leg injury on Saturday.
Djokovic advanced at 4-6, 7-6 (6). He will face third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.
“I really hope his injury isn’t too serious,” Djokovic said. “I know Daniil, he’s a great guy, he’s a fighter, he’s a great competitor… He told me he pulled an adductor muscle in his leg.
“It was such a close game, especially in the second set. I would probably say he was a better player on the court in both sets. I was fighting and trying to find a way. I found a way to win the second, but I’m just sad for the tournament and for those people who were enjoying the battle, and for Daniil that it had to end this way.”
Going into the match, Medvedev had a 4-6 win-loss record against Djokovic, and they hadn’t met since last November in the Paris final, where Djokovic won in three sets.
In the other semi, Tsitsipas rallied to beat fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Rublev won the first set after saving three break points. Tsitsipas broke in the 10th game of the second to level the set score. The more the match progressed, the more aggressive he was and much more decisive than Rublev in the decisive match.
“My mentality kind of changed,” Tsitsipas said. “I played with a more aggressive style of play and didn’t get anything lucky. I was aware of every decision I was trying to follow and execute and those service games worked out pretty well. They kept me in the game and gave me that hope.”
He will aim for his third title of the year, after Monte-Carlo and Mallorca, in his sixth final of the season.