Third-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem on Wednesday powered into the quarter-finals of the Mexican Open in Acapulco with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov.
Thiem, the 2016 champion in Acapulco, did not face a break point in his 75 minutes on court against the 18-year-old Canadian as he set up a last-eight clash with former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.
“I’m very happy, because everybody knows how good he can play and how dangerous he is,” Thiem said of Shapovalov. “I was really on from the first point. Today was almost perfect.”
Del Potro, the sixth seed, needed three sets to get past Spain’s David Ferrer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Second-seeded German Alexandr Zverev had to battle through the first set en route to a 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 victory over compatriot Peter Gojowczyk.
“The first set was very tough, but I played with confidence and after winning the tiebreak I was able to do things better,” Zverev said.
South Korean Chung Hyeon, a surprise semi-finalist at the Australian Open, did not face a break point in his 6-3, 6-1 victory over 21-year-old American Ernesto Escobedo.
Chung reached his fourth quarter-final of the season and is next to face fifth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over France’s Adrian Mannarino.
In the women’s singles, top seed Sloane Stephens saved a match point on the way to a 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 6-0 victory over Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus.
Rus had her chance at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreaker, but Stephens, the reigning US Open champion, belted a forehand winner to make it 6-6, won the next point on her own serve then took the set when Rus dumped a forehand into the net.
“I am happy,” Stephens said. “I was match point down, and I was able to come back and fight.”
“For not having played for a while, since Australia, it’s good progress,” added the American, who until this week had not won a match since her triumph at Flushing Meadows.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
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