Rafael Nadal didn’t fall out of his chair when he learned he would face Denis Shapovalov in the next round. The Spaniard, who has a good memory, still remembers his loss to the Ontarian in Montreal in 2017.
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“It was a tough game,” Nadal said after his three-set victory over Adrian Mannarino. If I still remember it, it’s because I was fighting for the number one spot in the world.
“He had played well. He was very young and he played with incredible intensity. He was able to create equally incredible shots.
“Everyone on tour knows he is one of the players with the most potential. After the match, I said he would have the potential to win several Grand Slam titles and I still think so.
Nadal continued to throw flowers at Shapovalov by answering the same question.
“Denis is doing a lot of good things on the pitch and his results prove it. When he’s playing well, he’s hard to stop. We saw it in his match against Zverev when he won in three sets.
“If he can play at this level consistently, he will be able to be among the top ranked.”
Nadal believes he will have to dig deep to defeat Shapovalov.
“I expect a tough duel,” he said. But in the quarter-finals, that’s what you expect, isn’t it? It’s a duel where I will do my best and play at my highest level if I want to win.
“I’m excited and didn’t believe I was in this position a few weeks ago.”
For his part, his foot, which made him suffer so much last year, allows him to play to his full extent. An injury that could have ended his career.
“I’m happy to be healthy enough to be here. To be able to play seven games so far is great news.”