Canada's Pospisil through to 3rd round at Sofia Open, top seed Shapovalov ousted

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SOFIA, Bulgaria — Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil advanced to the third round of the Sofia Open ATP 250 indoor hardcourt tournament on Tuesday, while fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov was defeated in his debut as a tournament top seed.

Pospisil advanced with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over fourth-seed Jan-Lennard Struff. Pospisil saved the only break point he faced and broke Struff twice in 10 chances to improve to 2-1 against the German.

Pospisil, ranked 74th in the world, was accurate on just 50 per cent of his first serves, but claimed 90 per cent of available points when they landed. He also won 52 per cent of second-chance points.

Struff was good on 63 per cent of his first serves and won 70 per cent of first-serve points. He won 50 per cent of second serve points. Both players had five aces.

The 30-year-old Pospisil next faces either sixth-seed John Millman of Australia or French qualifier Gilles Simon.

After receiving a first-round bye as top seed, Shapovalov ended his season on a down note after being upset 6-2, 6-4 by Romania's Radu Albot.

Shapovalov was broken three times on six chances by Albot, who is ranked 81 spots lower than Shapovalov on the ATP Tour rankings at No. 93.

Albot, who only faced break point twice in the match and saved both times, posted his second victory over a highly ranked Canadian in a month. He beat Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals of an indoor tournament in Cologne, Germany in October.

The often inconsistent Shapovalov had another season of ups and downs in 2020. He broke into the ATP top-10 for the first time in his career after advancing to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open and the semifinals of the Rome Masters. 

But the 21-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., ended the season on a four-game losing streak, losing his first match in three straight tournaments following a loss to Andrey Rublev in the semifinals at an ATP 500 tournament in St. Petersburg.

Shapovalov finishes the season with a 17-15 record.

Auger-Aliassime, seeded second in Sofia, faces Italy's Salvatore Caruso in a second-round match Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2020.

The Canadian Press