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“Canadians never want to play Canadians” – Shapovalov ready for Felix

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Denis Shapovalov set up a mouth-watering third-round clash at the Australian Open against fellow Canadian and friend Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Shapovalov, the world number 11, comfortably defeated Australian hope Bernard Tomic in straight sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 to progress through the first Grand Slam of the year.

“Bernard is a really tough opponent,” said Shapovalov. “If I let him into the match in the second set, I would have been there for a while. So I’m really happy to close it out in straights.”

The 21-year-old endured a brutal encounter in his first round, eventually defeating Italian youngster Jannik Sinner in five sets – a match that lasted over four hours. In contrast, the match against Tomic lasted under two hours and will give Shapovalov more recovery time before the clash against Auger-Aliassime.

Speaking after the match, the Canadian said, “for sure [I’m] excited to play Felix. Canadians never want to play Canadians.”

Auger-Aliassime, who missed out on playing for Canada at last week’s ATP Cup to Shapovalov and Milos Raonic, also eased through at Melbourne Park.

The 20-year-old bounced back from a disappointing seventh ATP final loss to Dan Evans at the Murray River Open on Sunday to defeat Aussie James Duckworth, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

“I served well. I didn’t face a break point, that was key,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I was able to adapt well, change my position, mix things up, just create opportunities.

It was a very complete match. It was good to get through in three sets in the hot weather… I can be happy with my performance.”

The third-round match will be the fourth ATP meeting between the two Canadians, with Shapovalov holding a 2-1 winning record against his countryman.


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