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Canadian Denis Shapovalov loses to unheralded Austrian in first round of Vienna Open

Canada's Denis Shapovalov is out of the Vienna Open after suffering a first-round loss to a player with just one previous win at the ATP Tour level.

Canada's Denis Shapovalov is out of the Vienna Open after suffering a first-round loss to a player with just one previous win at the ATP Tour level.

Austrian wild-card Jurij Rodionov, ranked 153rd in the world, beat the eighth-seeded Shapovalov 6-4, 7-5 on Monday at the ATP 500 hard-court event.

The 21-year-old Rodionov came into the match with a 1-7 record in ATP Tour play.

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., has now lost in his first match at the past two tournaments. The 21-year-old is ranked 12th in the world after cracking the top 10 for the first time in his career earlier this year.

Rodionov broke Shapovalov in the final game to win the match. 

The Canadian struggled with his serve, committing 10 double faults.

Shapovalov won just 38 per cent of his points on second serve, well below Rodiovov's 68-per-cent clip in the same category.

Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil, a qualifier, will meet Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime in an all-Canadian first-round match on Wednesday. 

Auger-Aliassime, coming off runner-up and semifinal finishes at two tournaments in Germany, has won all three previous meetings against Pospisil.

Also Monday, Andrey Rublev started his quest for a fifth ATP title of the season with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Norbert Gombos.

The eighth-ranked Rublev hit 11 aces and never faced a break point in against his Slovakian opponent, who had won their only previous meeting on hard-court four years ago.

After his recent tournament wins in Hamburg and St. Petersburg, Rublev joined Novak Djokovic as the only players with four titles in the shortened 2020 season.

Headlining the event in Austria, Djokovic is set to play Filip Krajinovic in an all-Serbian opening-round match on Tuesday.

Djokovic, who won the event in his last appearance here in 2007, would meet Borna Coric in the second round.

Two wins would guarantee Djokovic the year-end No. 1 spot for a sixth season, matching the record set by Pete Sampras in the 1990s.

Coric, who lost the St. Petersburg final to Rublev last week, defeated Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-4 after the American had 12 aces but dropped his serve at 4-4 in both sets.

Also, Kevin Anderson saved three match points in a third-set tiebreaker to overcome another Austrian player, Dennis Novak.

Anderson, who won the event in 2018, closed out a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (6) win and next plays Pablo Carreno Busta, who led Gael Monfils 6-1, 2-0 when the seventh-seeded Frenchman quit the match with an injury.

Kei Nishikori pulled out with a shoulder injury on Monday evening, less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to take on defending champion Dominic Thiem.

Diego Schwartzman and Alex De Minaur also withdrew from the event, a day after losing the finals in Cologne and Antwerp, respectively.

Amid tightened health and safety measures, 1,000 spectators were allowed in the 9,000-capacity Stadthalle arena.

-- With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press