For the first time in the ATP tour era—dating back to 1990—Canada boasted the Top 2 seeds at a tour-level tournament when the Sofia Open draw was released this past weekend. Denis Shapovalov made his debut on the top of an ATP draw sheet, while Felix Auger-Aliassime was placed on the complete opposite end as the No. 2 seed.
The noteworthy nugget turned out to be a short-lived statistic. On Tuesday, Shapovalov saw his season, and shot at finishing in the year-end Top 10 of the ATP rankings, come to an end. Radu Albot upset the world No. 12, 6-2, 6-4, by breaking the left-hander three times from six opportunities to reach the quarterfinals.
Shapovalov, who cracked the Top 10 for a week back in September thanks to his performances at the US Open and Rome, finished his 2020 season on a four-match losing streak. He previously pulled out of last week’s Paris Masters, ending his bid to qualify for the ATP Finals.
Albot meanwhile, has surged of late after beginning his season by losing 10 consecutive matches (across tour-level, qualifying and challenger matches). The Moldovan posted his first main-draw win of the year at Roland Garros, and with his 74-minute victory over Shapovalov, has added six more to his yearly total.
Fourth seed Jan-Lennard Struff was also unable to escape his opener, falling to Vasek Pospisil. Facing off for the first time in more than four years, Pospisil took 28 of his 31 first-serve points in securing a 6-3, 6-4 victory. In first-round action, Jannik Sinner, Richard Gasquet and qualifier Gilles Simon all advanced.
At the WTA International event in Linz, No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka rallied from an early 1-4 deficit to defeat Jasmine Paolini, 6-4, 6-4. Sabalenka, who picked up the singles and doubles crowns in Ostrava just over two weeks ago, fired 11 aces past the Italian to move forward after 86 minutes.
Wild card Vera Zvonavera, Czech Barbora Krejcikova and 2018 champion Camila Giorgi were among those joining Sabalenka in Tuesday's win column. Second seed Elise Mertens and 2020 Roland Garros semifinalist Nadia Podorosoka are among the competitors set to begin their campaigns on Wednesday.