Denis Shapovalov makes winning debut at Rome Masters
Shapovalov will become the Canadian No 1 on Monday, when he officially passes Milos Raonic in the ATP Rankings
By Raz Mirza at Foro Italico in Rome
Last Updated: 16/05/18 3:51pm
Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov continued his fine form on clay as he ousted experienced Czech Tomas Berdych on his Rome Masters debut.
Shapovalov arrived in the Italian capital having lost out to eventual winner Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open semi-finals last week.
And the 19-year-old recorded the biggest win of his clay-court career with a fearless 1-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory in two hours and four minutes to announce his arrival in Rome.
I feel like I live and die by my shots. I either go out swinging and winning, or swinging and losing.
It came slowly, but Shapovalov eventually made the adjustment from the altitude of Madrid to sea level with an impressive 17 forehand winners as he fought back to set-up a second-round meeting with Robin Haase from the Netherlands.
"It was a pretty tough first set, but I got a footing on the court and picked up my game. I feel like I live and die by my shots. I either go out swinging and winning, or swinging and losing," Shapovalov told Sky Sports.
"I've been playing good in the big moments, so I'm happy to get these wins."
Elsewhere on a rain-interrupted day, Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur defeated Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-1 in 64 minutes to set-up a second-round clash against top seed and seven-time former champion Rafael Nadal.
Meanwhile, 14th-seeded Diego Schwartzman eliminated Chilean qualifier Nicolas Jarry 6-4 6-1, and 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille held off Italian wild card Andreas Seppi in front of a partisan crowd, 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-3).
Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the final of the Barcelona Open last month, advanced when Borna Coric retired while trailing 4-1.
The Masters 1000 Series continues with our coverage of the ATP Italian Open on Sky Sports Arena from 11am on Wednesday.
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