24 Feb SEMIFINALS NOT SET: RAIN DELAYS CONCLUSION OF CHUNG-TIAFOE
By Steve Dorsey
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Canadian Denis Shapovalov joined American Steve Johnson and German Peter Gojowczyk as semifinalists, but weather played havoc with who will complete the singles final four at the ATP World Tour Delray Beach Open.
Play was suspended because of rain for a second time late Friday night in the final quarterfinal match between Korean Hyeon Chung and American Frances Tiafoe with Tiafoe leading 5-3 in the decisive third set. They will resume the match Saturday afternoon, with the winner returning a few hours later to face Shapovalov in the semifinals. The other semifinal will match Johnson against Gojowczyk in an afternoon match following the conclusion of the suspended match.
Tiafoe had an opportunity to close out the match before play was suspended the first time because of rain but Chung, the No. 8 seed, survived three match points to extend the game and match. Play resumed briefly following the second rain delay with Chung serving. The Korean won a point to give him advantage, but rain again interrupted play and officials suspended the match until Saturday afternoon.
Earlier Friday night, Shapovalov brushed off seven double faults to defeat fellow Next-Gen star American Taylor Fritz 7-5, 6-4 to advance to his first ATP Tour semifinal of the year. The 18-year-old Canadian said he sensed a victory was in the cards prior to the start of the match, his first against Fritz.
“Off the ground, I felt really comfortable from the warmup, felt really good with my timing,” Shapovalov said.
Shapovalov won 86 percent of his first-serve points and had solid ground strokes throughout the match.
“I played really well today,” Shapovalov said. “Was serving extremely well and I was placing it well. I returned well when I needed to. Hopefully, I can do the same tomorrow.”
Shapovalov, ranked No. 46 in the world, and Fritz, ranked No. 85, were joined by two other Next-Gen players to reach the quarterfinals here, and Shapovalov believes it’s a sign of things to come.
“It’s good to see a little bit of a new generation of tennis, a new era beginning to happen,” Shapovalov said. “I feel like in the near future we’re going to see a lot more young guys coming up and a lot more upsets.”
Saturday’s play will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the first of two doubles matches.