World no. 18 Denis Shapovalov defeated Roman Safiullin 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 21 minutes in the Adelaide second round. Thus, the Canadian advanced into the quarter-final and set the clash against a 21-time Major winner Novak Djokovic on Friday.
Denis served well and dropped ten points in nine service games. Roman converted his only break chance but needed more to remain competitive. Shapovalov turned 43% of the return points into four breaks from 11 opportunities, enough to seal the deal in straight sets.
The Russian had to dig deep right from the start, facing three break points in the encounter’s first game and denying them to avoid an early setback. Denis closed the second game at 15 with a service winner and earned another break chance in the next one.
Safiullin fended it off with a volley winner at the net before spraying a forehand error for the second break point. The lower-ranked player placed another forehand wide to experience a break and fall 2-1 behind.
Denis Shapovalov defeated Roman Safiullin in straight sets.
Mixing his strokes nicely, Shapovalov produced another comfortable hold in game four to confirm the break and open a 3-1 advantage. The Canadian landed a forehand lob winner in the fifth game for more break points, challenging the Russian in every return game so far.
Denis clinched the second to open a 4-1 advantage and move closer to the opener. Shapovalov lost the ground for a minute in game six and hit a double fault to lose serve and reduce his lead. Safiullin held at 30 in the next one with a service winner for 3-4 before Shapovalov held with ease to remain in front.
Roman held at love in game nine to trail 5-4 and force Denis to serve for the opener. Shapovalov did that with an ace, taking the first set 6-4 in 45 minutes and building momentum ahead of the second. Safiullin cracked a forehand down the line winner at the start of the second set for a hold at love.
Shapovalov repeated that in game two and missed a break chance in the next one. The Canadian delivered another hold at love for 2-2, and the Russian repeated that a few minutes later to stay on the positive side. Denis leveled the score at 3-3 with an ace in game six and attacked in the next one to create break points.
World no. 18 seized the second to forge a 4-3 advantage and move closer to the finish line. A left-hander held at love with a forehand winner in game eight, and Safiullin served to stay in the match at 3-5. Denis broke again to seal the deal in style and set the quarter-final clash with Novak Djokovic.