After three hours and 47 minutes in the New York heat, Denis Shapovalov dropped to his knees, with his arms raised.
He had survived a scare from 51st-ranked Italian Andreas Seppi in the second round of the US Open. Seppi pushed the 28th-ranked Canadian to five sets before Shapovalov prevailed (6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4).
The match was the longest of Shapovalov’s young career, 10 minutes longer than his five-set loss to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at the Australian Open in January.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2018
Seppi had Shapovalov on the ropes, up 2-1 after the third set.
“It was a little bit difficult,” Shapovalov conceded during his post-match press conference. “I had the break up, and then my serve kind of fell apart. I let go of that [third] set. I told myself, just pick it back up. Just fight for every point.”
And fight he did. Shapovalov didn’t play his best tennis, but was able to gut out a fourth-set tiebreaker before winning the fifth set.
“It was pretty crazy. It was long. It was long and physical,” Shapovalov said. “Obviously I feel tired now but I’m lucky I’m only 19 years old. I feel pretty good. I’ll be ready for Friday.”
Shapovalov advances to the third round, the first time he’s done that in a Grand Slam this year. The young Canadian made it to the fourth round in his US Open debut last year.
Meeting him in Round 4 is 32-year-old veteran Kevin Anderson, of South Africa. Anderson is currently ranked fifth in the world, and was the runner-up at Wimbledon last month.