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Sport

Confident Shapovalov faces Fritz test in third round

FILE PHOTO: Sep 2, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Denis Shapovalov of Canada hits the ball against Soonwoo Kwon of Korea on day three of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Denis Shapovalov bowed out of the U.S. Open third round in his last two trips to New York and will aim to break that run when he faces local hope Taylor Fritz at the same stage on Friday.

The 21-year-old dazzled fans at his U.S. Open debut three years ago as he came through qualifying and went on to beat Daniil Medvedev, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Kyle Edmund before losing to Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round.

Shapovalov has largely struggled to replicate that form at the majors since, but said he always has added confidence when competing at Flushing Meadows.

“Every year I’ve played here, I’ve had amazing support. It was a really good start for my career and it’s left such a great feeling every time I come back to New York,” Shapovalov, who beat Kwon Soon-woo in four sets in the last round, said.

“I always have a little bit of confidence because I feel like it all kind of started for me in Montreal and New York.”

But Shapovalov, who lost to Kevin Anderson and Gael Monfils in five-set thrillers in his last two trips to New York, faces a tricky test in Fritz - the 2015 junior champion - despite winning their two previous meetings.

In other matches, world number one Novak Djokovic will look to improve his match record in 2020 to 26-0 when he takes on German Jan-Lennard Struff while fifth seed Alexander Zverev meets Adrian Mannarino.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has eased through his first two rounds without dropping a set, will look to keep the momentum going against Borna Coric as he chases his maiden major.

Among the women, Japanese fourth seed Naomi Osaka takes on Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova takes on American Jessica Pegula while former world number one Angelique Kerber faces American Ann Li.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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