No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won the point of the match, and probably the point of the night, against 18-year-old potential trend-setter Denis Shapovalov early in the second set of their second-round clash on Arthur Ashe Wednesday night. Feeling the crowd’s energy and trying to pump himself after dropping the first set, Tsonga wagged his finger in the air: I’m still the eight-seed, he seemed to say to the roaring crowd. I’m not going down without a fight.
That didn’t happen. Tsonga got throughly worked by the teen’s solid baseline hitting and elastic ability to get to nearly every ball and fell in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Shapovalov, fresh off big wins over Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, kept his cool on the big stage, converting three of five break points while Tsonga only managed to break once in four opportunities. He also hit for the lines, scorching 28 winners while the big-hitting Frenchman hit 22. Generally, the player with more winners, who goes for more shots with lower margins of error, racks up more unforced errors. In this case, though, Shapovalov made only 19; Tsonga had 28.
“I think every win that I’ve been going through, it’s been securing anyone’s doubts or even my own doubts, whether or not I belong,” Shapovalov said. “I belong with these guys, playing these high-level tournaments.”