Canadian Denis Shapovalov’s steady run at the Italian Open ended Sunday with a semifinal loss to Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
The No. 8-seeded Schwartzman beat Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (4) to advance to Monday’s finals, where he’ll play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Shapovalov, the No. 12 seed from Richmond Hill, Ont., has had a string of good results over the last two weeks, including his first quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam at the U.S. Open last week.
He’s projected to reach a career-high No. 10 in the latest round of rankings, unless Schwartzman upsets Dkojovic in Monday’s final. That would be a second huge upset of the week for Schwartzman, who stunned Rafael Nadal, a master on clay, in the quarter-finals.
WATCH | Shapo falls to Schwartzman in Rome semis:
Shapovalov says he’s not putting too much thought into where his ranking ends up after this tournament.
“I’m going to keep working, keep improving and if I don’t get (into the top 10) now then I’ll just keep pushing to try to break through,” Shapovalov said. “But I’m only 21 so I’m really happy with having that chance right now to come that close.”
Shapovalov was looking to get into the final of a Masters 1000 tournament for just the second time in his career. He made the finals of the Paris Masters last November before losing to Djokovic.
Sunday’s match was the first between Shapovalov and Schwartzman, a 28-year-old who opened the week ranked one below the Canadian at No. 15.
“I don’t know if there was a key, we were both playing very even tennis,” Shapovalov said. “It was just a couple points. I think it was a great match from both of us. We both deserved to win today.”
Schwartzman needed a thrilling tiebreak to earn the win following a third set that saw each player break the other’s serve three times. The Argentine went up 5-4 in the tiebreak before earning two mini breaks for the victory.
WATCH | Schwartzman upsets King of Clay, Rafael Nadal in quarters:
Shapovalov had 10 aces to Schwartzman’s zero but also double faulted eight times.
“I had a chance to win it up a break twice in the third set, so I’m happy I was able to almost find a way to win despite struggling with one of my main weapons today,” Shapovalov said.
Earlier Sunday, Djokovic advanced to the finals in an eventful win against Casper Ruud.
Exactly two weeks after he was defaulted from the U.S. Open, and a day after he was warned by the chair umpire for breaking his racket in a fit of rage, Djokovic received an obscenity warning midway through the 7-5, 6-3 win.
The obscenity came in the third game of the second set, by which time Djokovic had a running dialogue with the chair umpire over a series of contested calls.
“I deserved the warning,” Djokovic said. “I didn’t say nice things in my language.
The French Open starts next weekend.