Israel-born teen upsets tennis champ Nadal’s bid to return to no. 1
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'Star is born'

Israel-born teen upsets tennis champ Nadal’s bid to return to no. 1

Denis Shapovalov, 18, of Ontario becomes the youngest player to beat an opponent ranked in the top two in the world since Nadal beat Federer in 2004

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, salutes the crowd after defeating Rafael Nadal, of Spain, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, salutes the crowd after defeating Rafael Nadal, of Spain, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL — Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who was born in Israel, upset top-seeded Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday night.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov, now from Richmond Hill, Ontario, advanced to a quarterfinal meeting Friday night with France’s Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Hyeon Chung of South Korea 6-3, 6-3.

“It’s what I dreamed of all my life growing up, playing guys like Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), Andy (Murray),” said Shapovalov, who moved with his family to Canada before his first birthday. “You know, my dream came true today.”

Shapovalov has taken major strides this week to reach his goal of cracking the world’s top 100 with wins over Rogerio Dutra Silva and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro. He also halted Nadal’s bid to regain the No. 1 ranking, which the Spaniard could have achieved by reaching the semifinals.

Israel-born Denis Shapovalov of Canada celebrates his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Rogers Cup on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)
Israel-born Denis Shapovalov of Canada celebrates his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Rogers Cup on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)

Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv to parents who had immigrated from the former Soviet Union. His mother Tessa, who has also been his coach for much of his budding career, is Jewish and his father is Greek Orthodox.

Denis Shapovalov of Canada reaches for the ball against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Rogers Cup on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)
Denis Shapovalov of Canada reaches for the ball against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Rogers Cup on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)

His victory earned him big headlines in Canada, with the Montreal Gazette declaring, “Star is born.”

Denis Shapovalov of Canada falls to the ground after his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Shapovalov defeated Nadal 6-3, 4-6, 6-7. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)
Denis Shapovalov of Canada falls to the ground after his victory over Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Shapovalov defeated Nadal 6-3, 4-6, 6-7. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)

Shapovalov battled back after Nadal cruised through the first set, then erased a 3-0 deficit in the tiebreaker for the biggest victory of his career.

Rafael Nadal of Spain congratulates Denis Shapovalov of Canada for his victory during day seven of the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Denis Shapovalov of Canada defeated Rafael Nadal of Spain 6-3, 4-6, 6-7. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)
Rafael Nadal of Spain congratulates Denis Shapovalov of Canada for his victory during day seven of the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium on August 10, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Denis Shapovalov of Canada defeated Rafael Nadal of Spain 6-3, 4-6, 6-7. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP)

Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the tournament’s quarterfinals since Bjorn Borg in 1974. With hockey great Wayne Gretzky and Olympic swimming star Penny Oleksiak cheering for him from the seats, he also became the youngest quarterfinalist at a Masters Series tournament ever and is the youngest to beat a player ranked in the top two in the world since Nadal beat Federer in 2004 in Miami.

“He played well,” Nadal said. “He has a great potential.

“I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.”

Roger Federer overcame a weak first set to post a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Spaniard David Ferrer in an earlier third-round match.

In Friday’s quarterfinals, the second-seeded Federer will face 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) on center court at Uniprix Stadium.

Diego Schwartzman practicing in Buenos Aires, Feb. 1, 2017. (Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images via JTA)
Diego Schwartzman practicing in Buenos Aires, Feb. 1, 2017. (Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images via JTA)

Unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who is Jewish, posted a strange win over American Jared Donaldson 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with Robin Haase, the 52nd-ranked Dutchman who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa downed American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-1 and will next play fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who ousted 16th-seeded Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, who breezed past Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round on Wednesday, struggled in the opening set, spraying balls long, wide or into the net, but gradually rediscovered at least some of the form that has seen the 36-year-old Swiss earn two grand slam wins this year.

Federer is 17-0 in his career against the 35-year-old Ferrer, who was ranked third in the world in 2013 but is now at No. 33.

Bautista Agut fought off a match point to force a tiebreaker, which the tired-looking Monfils opened with a double fault and never challenged again.

The unseeded Monfils played his third straight three-set match, including an upset win over fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori in the second round.

Schwartzman saved four match points to upset third-seeded Dominic Thiem in the second round. The win over Donaldson put him in a quarterfinal for the sixth time this year. Schwartzman’s only ATP win was on clay in Istanbul last year.

Donaldson, 20, was seeking a first career quarterfinal in a Masters Series tournament, where he is 0-13 in round of 16 matches.

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