Canadian Denis Shapovalov rolls to first-round victory at Madrid Open

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MADRID — Canada's Denis Shapovalov is heading to the second round of the Madrid Open after beating Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-3 on Sunday.

The 11th-seeded Shapovalov saved all three break points he faced against the world No. 37 at the ATP Masters 1000 clay-court event.

"I felt very good on the court," the 22-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., said. "I'm just happy to get the first win."

Shapovalov, ranked 14th in the world, has had trouble stringing together wins this year. His win-loss record is 9-7 in 2021.

"I don't care if I lose 40 matches. It's about the next match," he said. "I'm happy to get the win. But now it's back to work getting ready for the next match which just continues. It's nothing to dwell on."

The Canadian was sporting a slightly different look on Sunday, swapping his usual baseball cap for a bandana.

The change, Shapovalov said, came after a haircut that ended up a little shorter than he had anticipated.

"No, it was definitely kind of like the look I wanted to just kind of change up," he said with a grin. "But it's tough to wear a bandana when you have long hair. So I have no idea how (Rafael Nadal) was doing it back in the day. The hair always gets in my face."

Shapovalov will play world No. 43 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the second round. Bublik won their only previous meeting on an indoor hard-court in Marseille, France last year.

No. 15 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal is the only other Canadian in the men's singles draw. He will face Norway's Casper Ruud in a first-round match on Monday or Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press