LONDON (REUTERS) – Brandon Nakashima extended the American charge at Wimbledon when he ousted last year’s semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) victory in the second round on Thursday (June 30).
Nakashima became the seventh player from the United States to book a spot in the third round of the grass-court Grand Slam with an eighth spot guaranteed as Maxime Cressy and Jack Sock clash in an all-American battle.
Top-ranked American Taylor Fritz, John Isner, Jenson Brooksby, Tommy Paul, Steve Johnson and Frances Tiafoe are the others to have reached that stage – the most at a Grand Slam since the 1996 US Open and the most at Wimbledon in 27 years.
The 20-year-old Nakashima, ranked 56th in the world, hit 22 winners while limiting his unforced errors to 14 to defeat Canadian 13th seed Shapovalov.
“It felt amazing out there. To play against such a high-level player on one of the biggest stages, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Nakashima said after his win. “With each match, I think my game is progressing in the right direction.
“I am learning a lot from these matches, win or loss. I think getting to the third round in Paris was big for my confidence.
“Just knowing that I could compete with these top guys at the Grand Slams. Making the third round here is another step in the right direction.”
Shapovalov agreed, predicting a “bright future” for his opponent.
“He stayed extremely solid. It was very difficult to find weaknesses,” said the Canadian, who has now lost seven of his last eight matches.
“He didn’t give me much at all to fish for. He was just playing a great match, serving well, returning well. Played really well from the back. Yeah, I mean, it was tough for me to kind of find a lot of solutions.”