Karatsev adds to Shapovalov’s woes, Dimitrov takes down Opelka

Denis Shapovalov’s late-season slump continued on Monday, when he lost to Aslan Karatsev in the Indian Wells third round. Karatsev is joined in the last 16 by Grigor Dimitrov, a winner over Reilly Opelka.

Aslan Karatsev 2021 Australian Open

2021 BNP-Paribas Open | Draw | Order of Play

Denis Shapovalov has been unable to find his form since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-finals this summer. Shapovalov was hoping that a fortuitous retirement from fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil in round two of the BNP Paribas Open would send him on his way to further success in the desert. However, that did not turn out to be the case.

The world No 13 fell to Aslan Karatsev 7-5, 6-2 during third-round action on Monday afternoon. Karatsev cruised to victory after one hour and 36 minutes and he awaits either Hubert Hurkacz or Frances Tiafoe on Wednesday.

The Russian was out-aced by Shapovalov 12 to zero, but second-serve points won proved to be a much more important statistic in the match. Karatsev won 71 percent of his second-serve points, while Shapovalov won only 39 percent when he had to toss in a second delivery.

“The first thing you want to try to do is keep focusing because the weather conditions were tough for both of us,” the world No 23 explained. “The first set I tried to find my serve, especially on the second serve, it didn’t work. The main goal was to keep focused… It was super windy today.

“[It’s my] first time here in Indian Wells; it’s an amazing place. It’s nice to be here, to stay here, the atmosphere is really cool. The stadium is almost full, so it’s really nice to play.”

Dating back to his setback against Djokovic at the All-England Club, Shapovalov is now 3-8 in his last 11 matches.

Dimitrov avenges Toronto loss to Opelka

Another minor upset in the desert took place when Grigor Dimitrov got the best of Reilly Opelka.

The only previous meeting between Dimitrov and Opelka also came in the round of 32 at a Masters 1000 event — this summer in Toronto. Opelka won 6-3, 6-4. The exact same scoreline resulted on Monday, but this time it was Dimitrov who had the upper hand. Needing only one hour and 13 minutes, the 28th-ranked Bulgarian did not face a single break point on his way to a showdown against either Daniil Medvedev or Filip Krajinovic.

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