Canada’s Denis Shapovalov lost to third-seeded Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 at the Japan Open on Saturday, setting up an all-American final that will also feature Frances Tiafoe.
The 26-year-old Richmond Hill, Ont. native, who was coming off a final appearance at the Korean Open last weekend, was yet to lose a set in Tokyo.
They traded high-quality shots throughout the match as they split the first two sets.
His victory ensured he will make his top 10 debut in next week’s rankings.
It will be Fritz’s third final this year, having won the other two at Indian Wells and Eastbourne.
A final set will settle this! 🍿<br><br>A tremendous backhand pass from 🇨🇦 <a href=”https://twitter.com/denis_shapo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@denis_shapo</a> on his way to taking the second set, 7-6(5)!!<a href=”https://twitter.com/rakutenopen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@rakutenopen</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/RakutenOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RakutenOpen</a> <a href=”https://t.co/jq9OdkOzaK”>pic.twitter.com/jq9OdkOzaK</a>
In the other semifinal, Tiafoe added a little more sparkle to his already glittering season by beating South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo 6-2 0-6 6-4.
The American, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at the U.S. Open in September, reached his second title-decider of the season despite a poor second set in his victory.
Kwon looked nervous at times in the opener and struggled to handle Tiafoe’s deft mix of accuracy, touch and power as the American rattled off five games in a row before claiming the set 6-2. But the South Korean then swept the second set 6-0.
Fourth-seeded Tiafoe upped the ante in the third, winning the two break points he needed to serve for the match at 5-2, only to stumble once more.
The American sealed the win at the second time of asking with a cross-court forehand.