Canadian teen stuns Nadal

Rafael Nadal of Spain prepares to serve against Denis Shapovalov of Canada during day seven of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at Uniprix Stadium on Thursday in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. — AFP

MONTREAL — Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov shocked top seeded Rafael Nadal to reach the quarterfinals of the ATP Montreal Masters tournament, temporarily spoiling the Spaniard's chances of returning to world No. 1.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov continued his giant killing form at the hardcourt tournament by rallying to stun Nadal in three sets 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Thursday. "I was just swinging for the fences," said Shapovalov, who needed a wild card to get into the tournament.

The 31-year-old Nadal would have returned to No. 1 in the world if he had reached the semi-finals. But Nadal struggled to get the ball to Shapovalov's backhand and didn't have an answer for the Canadian's blistering forehand winners. Nadal described it as the worst loss of the season for him for a number of reasons.

Shapovalov, who is ranked 143rd in the world, quickly got on a roll in Montreal, beating Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva in the opening round 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4. He then defeated former US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round in straight sets 6-3 7-6 (7/4) to set up the showdown with Nadal.

"It is incredible. I can't even talk right now. I grew up watching Rafa so just to be able to compete with him is one thing but to come out winning is a dream come true for me."

Nadal won 77 percent of his first serve points, but had just two aces and six double faults in the two hour, 45 minute center court match. This is a setback for Nadal in the buildup to the US Open starting Aug.t 28 but he still has a chance to regain No. 1.

"The worst thing is playing bad in matches that really matter," Nadal said. "You have to win these matches. I didn't today. I have another week in Cincinnati and then I have the Grand Slam coming."

Elsewhere on Thursday, Roger Federer maintained his career-long winning streak over David Ferrer with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory to reach the quarterfinals after a three-set battle with the veteran Spaniard.

In other matches Thursday, Germany's Alexander Zverev defeated Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3, Roberto Bautista outlasted Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/2) and Kevin Anderson of South Africa cruised past Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-1. — AFP