Denis Shapovalov lost 6-3, 6-3 to top-ranked Novak Djokovic. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian tennis star Shapovalov advances to first career ATP final

No Canadian has won on the ATP Tour since Milos Raonic in Brisbane in January 2016

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov advanced to the final of an ATP tournament for the first time in his career on Saturday.

The 20-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., defeated Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Stockholm Open.

Shapovalov will play Filip Krajinovic of Serbia on Sunday for the title at the ATP 250 tournament.

No Canadian has won on the ATP Tour since Milos Raonic in Brisbane in January 2016.

Shapovalov, the No. 4 seed in Stockholm and the No. 34-ranked player heading into the week, outpowered his opponent on Saturday with 10 aces — Sugita had none — while winning 90 per cent of his first-service points.

Shapovalov converted on 4-of-5 break points and saves 3-of-4 to improve to 2-0 against Sugita. He also beat the 31-year-old in 2017 at an indoor hard court tournament in Switzerland.

Sugita, ranked No. 129, broke Shapovalov for a 4-2 lead in the first set, but the Canadian rebounded with a pair of breaks over the next five games to win the opener in 48 minutes.

The second set was much quicker for Shapovalov, who broke Sugita twice early on for a 4-1 lead, and won it in 30 minutes.

Shapovalov was previously 0 for 7 in ATP semifinals before Saturday’s win.

Krajinovic defeated No. 5 seed Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first semifinal of the day.

Krajinovic, ranked No. 60, has never faced Shapovalov before.

The 27-year-old has also never won on the ATP Tour, but has appeared in two finals, including one earlier this year on clay in Budapest.

The Canadian Press

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