Fucosovics upsets Shapovalov at Australian Open first round

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Marton Fucosovics of Hungary gestures after beating Denis Shapovalov at the Australian Open

Hungarian Marton Fucosovics, 20, caused a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1, 7-6(3) upset against Canadian No.1 Denis Shapovalov at the Australian Open on Monday.

Shapovalov blasted the umpire for issuing him with a ‘terrible call’ during his first ever first round loss in three appearances at the tournament.

Shapovalov, who is the 13th seed in this year’s draw, struggled to find his range throughout the match. He has now lost in the first round of three out of the last four grand slam tournaments.

“I definitely had a lot of chances. Up a break in the fourth set and getting tight. Then, having a break point and shanking a forehand,” Shapovalov reflected during his press conference.

Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics (R), is congratulated by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov (L) after winning their first round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia

“I’m not trying to take anything away from him. I think he played an excellent match, played really well in the fifth set tie break. But obviously not all of me was there today,” Shapovalov added.

The lackluster performance saw the rising star hit 62 unforced errors and won just 39% of his second service points. Shapovalov also found difficulty in dismantling his opponent’s serve, who saved six out of the seven break points he faced.

During the clash, Shapovalov engaged in a confrontation with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein. It started during the early stages of the third set when he received a code violation for hitting his racket onto the ground out of frustration.

Denis Shapovalov slams his racket into the ground in frustration

Something the world No.13 argued against by saying “it’s my racket, I can do whatever I want with it” and pointing out that it didn’t break.

“The rule that I know is that if I break the racket you can code me, but you can’t code me for slamming it,” Shapovalov said.

“I’m not doing anything, it didn’t impact anyone and yeah, the racket was still intact. He gave me the warning because I did it two or three times and I think it’s not the way it works.”

“He said I kept doing it so he was going to code me, which is a terrible decision.”

In the official rule book it doesn’t state that a piece of playing equipment has to be broken before a player is issued with a code violation, which may also subsequently lead to a fine. Leaving a frustrated Shapovalov with little ground for his argument.

“Players shall not violently or with anger hit, kick or throw a racket or other equipment within the precincts of the tournament site.” The rule states.

The Next Gen star had an opportunity to take the match into a decider after leading the fourth set by 4-2. However, he was unable to hold onto the lead with Fucsovics fighting back once more before prevailing in the tiebreaker.

Gifting the Hungarian only his second win over a top 20 player in his career.

Shapovalov is the first top 20 seed to exit the men’s draw this year. In the second round Fucsovics will play either Jannik Sinner or Max Purcell.

 

Chidi Nwoke.