Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is through to the semifinals of the Italian Open.
The No. 12 seed from Richmond Hill, Ont., edged No. 15 seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals Saturday to notch his first career win in three matches against the Bulgarian.
“It’s amazing to beat a player like Grigor,” Shapovalov said. “He’s someone I’ve looked up to since I was a junior. I’m a really big fan of his game and the way he plays. I’ve had some difficult matches against him.
“To get the win it’s a big step for me and a big step for my confidence to know I can beat a player of that category, of that level.”
WATCH | Shapovalov’s 100th win sends him into Rome semis:
Shapovalov, ranked No. 14 in the world, won 80 per cent of his first service points and broke Dimitrov, a former world No. 3, five times at the ATP Masters 1000 clay-court event.
The match lasted one hour, 53 minutes.
Schwartzman upsets Nadal on clay
Shapovalov will play No. 8 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in Sunday’s final. The 28-year-old Schwartzman advanced with a stunning 6-2, 7-5 upset of No. 2 Rafael Nadal, a clay-court master and nine-time champion at this tournament.
It will be the first career meeting between Shapovalov and Schwartzman, who opened the week ranked one spot below the Canadian at No. 15.
WATCH | Schwartzman upsets the King of Clay:
The 21-year-old Shapovalov is looking to reach the final of a Masters 1000 tournament for the second time in his career. He lost to Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Paris Masters last November.
Shapovalov’s only career ATP title came last October in Stockholm, a 250-level event.
Shapovalov is on a roll recently. He’s coming of a run to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.
“Definitely very happy with the result today and this week overall,” Shapovalov said. “I’ve had a lot of difficult matches and dealing with jet lag and the body fatigue, it’s not easy. I’m really happy with the way I’ve been able to overcome that.”
The other men’s semifinal will feature top-ranked Novak Djokovic against Casper Ruud who became the first Norwegian to reach the semifinal of a Masters 1000 tournament.
His father, Christian Ruud, got as far as the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters in 1997.
While fans have not been admitted to the tournament yet, Italy’s sports minister said Friday that 1,000 spectators will be allowed in for the semifinals and finals.
FTB: Kyle Dubas moves on to Travis Dermott – Pension Plan Puppets
Kyle Dubas cleared out his calendar today by signing Ilya Mikheyev to a new two-year contract last night. Mikheyev requested salary arbitration with the Maple Leafs to settle his contract, and the hearing was scheduled for today, but the two sides managed to come together and strike a deal last night before the arbiter got involved.
Mikheyev was in an unusual position with only one season of NHL experience, much of that a write-off from a major injury, but he is 26 years-old and has five prior years of professional playing history in the KHL before the Leafs signed him and brought him over to Canada in 2019. That KHL experience was ineligible for discussion in the arbitration, so the arbiter would have had a tough job to make a proper comparison to his peer players, but none of that matters now. He’s signe with the Leafs for another two years.
I do have to say, I am quite happy with Mikheyev back. What price can you possibly put on scoring against the Habs only 30 seconds into a game?
Dubas will now turn to the remaining two restricted free agents left that need new contracts; defenceman Travis Dermott, and winger prospect Joey Anderson who was acquired from the Devils as a oart of the return for Andreas Johnsson. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both contracts are announced today. Dubas doesn’t have much room under the salary cap left so these contracts are essentially fait accompli.
We have a new Fanpost for you to check out.
Leafs Postseason Rankings – theForester26
Do you like to argue about post-season rankings? Well theForester26 has some post-season rankings for you to argue about!
Gretzky Index Finale: The Best Possible All-Time Teams Through Different Age Ranges – The Copper & Blue
Do you like to argue about all-time great rosters? Well here’s some hypothetical all-time great rosters for you to argue about!
Blackhawks ‘new’ rebuilding plan is same one they’ve worked on for 3 seasons – Second City Hockey
As long as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith are around, the Blackhawks are NOT in a rebuild and any suggestions to the contrary are incorrect.
Thompson to wear 11 in honour of Rypien – NHL.com
“At first, I was kind of nervous about it. It was kind of overwhelming at first because I know how much Rick Rypien meant to people. I had to think about it a little bit, said Nate Thompson.”
P.K. Subban on NHL social change, ‘The Last Dance,’ nearly being a Penguin and more – ESPN
The Devils defenseman checks in on the league’s social justice initiatives and much more.
Color of Hockey: O’Ree releases book, not slowing down at 85 – NHL
Willie O’Ree isn’t slowing down at 85. Days removed from his birthday, which was Oct. 15, the NHL’s first Black player recounted his special day, the well-wishes he received from players past and present, and reflected on his extraordinary career during the latest episode of Soul on Ice: The Podcast.
Connor Bedard on training in Sweden, call from Gretzky and exceptional status – TSN
“Connor Bedard’s phone rang and caller ID showed a number he didn’t recognize. “I think it’s one of those robot things that’s calling so I didn’t answer it. Then it called again and I answered and he’s like, ‘Hey, I’m Wayne Gretzky,’ and I was sure it was a prank call at first.”
Couple finds 60 bottles of 1920’s bootleg whiskey inside NY home
[SPECIES: why can’t this happen to me in my basement!]
The complete Maple Leafs prospect rankings, autumn 2020 edition – The Athletic
Social Media Stocks Jump After Snap Results Suggest Ad Strength – Yahoo Canada Finance
FTB: Kyle Dubas moves on to Travis Dermott – Pension Plan Puppets
Calgary COVID outbreak of at least 49 active cases linked to recent wedding: officials – National Post
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