Denis Shapovalov is one victory away from retaining the Stockholm Open title. Friendship was cast aside Friday when the third-seeded Canadian Shapovalov broke a two-match losing streak against second-seeded compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime in a 6-4, 7-5 victory over one hour and 58 minutes.
“I am very happy to have played exceptional tennis today,” said Shapovalov. “Felix is an incredible player, so I knew I had to come out and play big. We know each other well. It definitely means a lot to reach the final.”
With his 30th match win of the season, Shapovalov will meet American Tommy Paul in Saturday’s final at the Kungliga Tennishallen. The pair has not met before.
“It’s crazy that it’s our first meeting ever,” said Shapovalov. “We grew up in juniors together, he was a couple of years older. I am a big fan of his game and it was only a matter of time before he came up with a week like this. We’re big shot-makers, so it should be fun.”
Shapovalov was full of energy in the first set, earning breaks of serve in the first game and at 2-4. Shapovalov, who barely missed a backhand in the opening exchanges, wobbled momentarily and was forced to recover from 15/40 when serving at 5-4.
Auger-Aliassime appeared to gain the momentum in the pair’s sixth ATP Head2Head meeting by breaking for a 3-1 advantage in the second set, but a reliance on his second serve soon cost the 21-year-old in the next game. At 5-5, a game of brutal ball-striking, Shapovalov decisively broke to love and later closed out the encounter with his seventh ace.
World No. 53 Paul beat fellow American Frances Tiafoe, the eighth seed, earlier in the day.
Source: ATP World Tour