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Canadian teen Shapovalov gets taste of US Open nightlife

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    Canadian teen Shapovalov gets taste of US Open nightlife

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, pats his chest over his heart as he waves to fans after upsetting the No. 8 seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, pats his chest over his heart as he waves to fans after upsetting the No. 8 seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York,

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, reacts after double-faulting during a tiebreak in the final set of his 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) loss to Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, reacts after double-faulting during a tiebreak in the final set of his 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) loss to Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York,

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, reacts during the third-set tiebreak in his match against the No 8 seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. Shapovalov upset Tsonga 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, reacts during the third-set tiebreak in his match against the No 8 seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Denis Shapovalov, right, of Canada, greets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, after defeating No. 8 seed Tsonga 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Denis Shapovalov, right, of Canada, greets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, after defeating No. 8 seed Tsonga 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, awaits the result of a challenge in the third-set tiebreak during a match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. Shapovalov won the challenge and the match on that point, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, awaits the result of a challenge in the third-set tiebreak during a match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 30,

Photo: Kathy Willens, AP

Canadian teen Shapovalov gets taste of US Open nightlife

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NEW YORK (AP) — Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov got a little taste of late-night life at the U.S. Open along the way to knocking off No. 8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

During the 69th-ranked Shapovalov’s 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night that put him in the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, the 18-year-old qualifier said he chatted a bit with some, um, overzealous spectators.

“I noticed a couple of guys had a little bit too much to drink. I mean, some of them were standing and, like, just talking to me as if we’re buddies. I was up a break in one game, I think it was probably 40-15, I just miss a backhand. (One fan is) like, ‘Aaaaah. No!’ I’m like, ‘Don’t worry, man. I got this,'” Shapovalov recounted with a smile.

“I mean, I was just taking it all in,” he continued.

“Like I said, it’s a dream come true to me to play a night match over here on Arthur Ashe. So for me, it was fun. Obviously it’s not easy to play under these conditions. But I managed to put a positive spin on it.”

Shapovalov is almost exactly 14 years younger than Tsonga, a Frenchman who was the runner-up at the 2008 Australian Open.

This is part of quite a run for Shapovalov, who earlier this month beat Rafael Nadal on a hard court in Montreal while becoming the youngest semifinalist at a Masters tournament.

Shapovalov’s first major tournament came last month at Wimbledon, where he lost in the first round. He was the junior champion at the All England Club a year ago.

The only near-slip for Shapovalov against Tsonga came in the third set, when the left-hander served for the match at 5-4 and got broken for the first time all match.

But Shapovalov steadied himself and came through in the tiebreaker, finishing with 28 winners to 19 unforced errors.

“I don’t think I was always mentally solid as I am today. I’ve been working extremely hard on it. … I think it’s improved quite a bit,” he said. “It also helps I’ve been in these situations constantly, playing these top guys. … It’s a little bit easier the second time around and third time around. You get used to these situations.”

Next up for Shapovalov is a match against Kyle Edmund of Britain. When they faced each other in the Davis Cup in February, Shapovalov was defaulted and fined $7,000 for hitting a ball in anger that struck the chair umpire in the face and broke a bone under his left eye.

That episode, Shapovalov said, “definitely helped me mature.”

Then he added: “But I don’t think this match has anything to do with it. I’ve apologized constantly before, and I continue to apologize for my actions. It’s something I have to live with. But for me it’s in the past and I’m a different person and a different player now. So it’s a completely new match.”

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

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