Shapovalov beats fellow prodigy Auger-Aliassime, wins first Challenger

by: Kamakshi Tandon | March 20, 2017

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Denis Shapovalov, who defeated Ruben Bemelmans in the final, moved into the Top 200. (AP) 

Denis Shapovalov defeated fellow Canadian and friend Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semifinals of the Drummondville Challenger, and then won his first Challenger title against Ruben Bemelmans in the final.

The 17-year-old Shapovalov and 16-year-old Auger-Aliassime hugged at the net following their semifinal match, played in front of full stands with the crowd largely backing local favorite Auger-Aliassime.

Speaking to local reporters, Shapovalov said he was happy to reach his first Challenger final, but would have preferred to have done it against someone other than a teammate.

"But he's the most talented player I've ever seen,” he said, “so he'll have other chances, definitely."

Both players had to adjust to playing each other. 

"It's special to face your big friend for the first time, and we were both nervous," Auger-Aliassime told local reporters. "He was solid, from start to finish. It's going to develop into a good rivalry."

Each has experienced success at Drummondville before, with Auger-Aliassime getting his first ranking points at the event and Shapovalov winning his first Challenger matches there.

Shapovalov then defeated Bemelmans in the final to win his first Challenger title. With the win, Shapovalov moved into the Top 200 (No. 194) in the ATP rankings. 

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