Denis Shapovalov has survived an almighty meltdown at the Italian Open to knock out home favourite Lorenzo Sonego in the first round in Rome.
The Canadian came through the bad tempered match 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3, in just under three hours and 11 minutes.
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However, the 23-year-old faced the ire of home fans during a contentious match in which he swore at the crowd and argued vehemently with the umpire and match referee.
Shapovalov, 23, was smacked with a code violation late in the second set for unsportsmanlike conduct, having jumped over the net to show the umpire the mark his ball left on Sonego’s side — a series of events that are not allowed.
The World No.16 was furious at being docked a point penalty for showing the umpire the mark he was adamant the ball in question had made.
The umpire ultimately ruled that Shapovalov’s serve was out, shifting momentum in favour of Sonego. Along with the code violation, the young Canadian lost the game to trail 5-3.
Later in the match, the 13th-seeded Shapovalov pleaded with chair umpire Richard Haigh to kick out a fan that had been heckling him throughout the game.
Much to Shapovalov’s fury though, his calls fell on deaf ears as Haigh decided that the Canadian had "incited it a little bit.”
“I’m not going to kick him out because I didn’t see what he was doing,” Haigh explained to Shapovalov.
“I saw you talking to him and you incited it a little bit. I understand you’re frustrated.”
As the two continued to debate the decision, boos began to cascade from the fans, causing the 23-year-old to exclaim, “shut the f*** up!”
— Sasha Alcaraz (@tennistipsy) May 9, 2022
Shapovalov vs Sonego is wild.
Shapovalov, who already had a warning, gets a code violation for crossing the net.
So that's a point penalty.
He was *furious* about it.
He called the supervisor and shouted STFU at the crowd. Very lucky not to get a game penalty for that.
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) May 9, 2022
I thought the umpires on the ATP tour were clamping down on this behaviour? 🤷🏼♂️
> Crosses the net = point penalty
> Continues to argue with umpire and referee
> Tells the crowd to “shut the f**k up”
To be honest, Shapovalov is lucky to just get a point penalty… pic.twitter.com/hJu261B1CK
— Iain (@Iain10912) May 9, 2022
Denis Shapovalov is PISSED with the crowd. Richard Haigh struggling to control the situation…
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 9, 2022
Denis Shapovalov, who already had a warning, gets a second code violation and therefore a point penalty for crossing the net to check a mark. Gets mad, calls the supervisor and tells the crowd to "shut the f*** up". That could have been a game penalty...
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) May 9, 2022
Denis Shapovalov sorry for ugly outburst
Following the three-set win, Shapovalov apologised to Haigh for his behaviour, lamenting that he was in the heat of the moment and that he will be more conscious of the rule in the future.
“A lot of things happened in the heat of the moment. I need to be better with my behaviour,” Shapovalov said. “It was my mistake. I’ll know the rule for next time. I definitely won’t step over the net.”
Despite the acrimonious circumstances, Shapovalov says he enjoys playing in Rome, just not when he’s pitted against an Italian.
“The fans love me here and I love the fans,” he said.
“Even after the match, there were a lot of people standing, waiting for pictures, stuff like that.
“I'm super excited to play another match — not against an Italian.”
Shapovalov reached the semi-finals in Rome two years ago. The Canadian will face Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round of the tournament on Tuesday.
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