NEW YORK (Reuters) – Denis Shapovalov did not get his choice of court for his first round match at the U.S. Open on Monday and was delighted to get out of Louis Armstrong Stadium with a straightforward victory over American wild card Sebastian Korda.
The Canadian revealed after his opener that he had asked tournament director Stacey Allaster not to put him on the second showcourt, where his tournaments came to an end with five-set defeats at the last two U.S. Opens.
Shapovalov went down in a third-round thriller to Kevin Anderson in 2018 and lost an even closer contest to Gael Monfils at the same stage last year which brought the New York crowd to a frenzy.
“Yeah, I was telling Stacey before the tournament, whatever you do, don’t put me on Armstrong. I’ve had some brutal losses there,” the 21-year-old told reporters.
“Surely enough, first round she puts me there,” he added to laughter.
Shapovalov, who reached the fourth round on his first visit to Flushing Meadows in 2017, was very much the younger man when he faced off against Anderson and Monfils, but the tables were turned on Monday.
Korda, the 20-year-old son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr, was making his Grand Slam main draw debut but never looked like taking Shapovalov to a deciding set as the 12th seed set up a meeting with South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo.
“Even though I have lost on that court, I have had some amazing matches and played some of my best tennis on those courts so it was good feelings coming back out there,” Shapovalov added.
“But it was actually interesting today, because it was probably the first time that I felt like I was the veteran on the tour and he was a bit of a rookie.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by)