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Denis Shapovalov beats Grigor Dimitrov to advance to semis at Italian Open – CBC.ca

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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:

21-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill earns his 100th career ATP tour-level win by beating  Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.  2:23

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:

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman defeats 9-time Italian Open champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets 6-2, 7-5. 1:06

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.

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FTB: Kyle Dubas moves on to Travis Dermott – Pension Plan Puppets

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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?

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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.


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The complete Maple Leafs prospect rankings, autumn 2020 edition – The Athletic

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With the NHL draft and free agency (mostly) finished, the Maple Leafs prospect pool looks far different than it did even a few months ago.

A once thin pool now has another key piece acquired through trade and 12 new players added through this year’s draft. The theme that ran through the draft for the Leafs has all but become the identity for their prospect pool: tons of skill, not a lot of size and an emphasis on European players who are already playing their 2020-21 seasons.

But where do all these new prospects stand within the organization?

Like Leafs prospect ranking OG Scott Wheeler and his previous lists, I’ve included players aged 22 or younger right now.

But I’ve broken from Wheeler’s tradition to not only include players who are signed to NHL contracts or whose rights have not expired, but also players on AHL contracts. I’m doing so because of what I’m calling The Rubins Rule™: in 2018-19, Kristians…

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Mirtle: Ilya Mikheyev is signed. What that means for the Maple Leafs and the cap – The Athletic

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That picture at the top of this story is interesting.

That’s Ilya Mikheyev sitting between Alexander Burkov and Alexander Krylov a few weeks ago at a KHL game in Balashikha Arena. Burkov is the governor of Omsk region, a heavy hitter in Mikheyev’s hometown. And Krylov is the owner of Avangard Omsk, Mikheyev’s former KHL team, where he was a superstar until the Leafs signed him away last spring.

The pressure on Mikheyev to go back home, to star for his former team again, was immense. The team wanted him, and it lobbied for that over the past little while. The pay would have been substantial — likely several times the two-year, $1.645 million a season deal he signed with the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, avoiding arbitration.

That, more than anything, speaks to Mikheyev’s mindset here.

It explains why he filed for arbitration, even though doing so meant locking in at a relatively low salary for two more years.

It…

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