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Canada’s Shapovalov falls to Fritz, makes second-round exit at Mexican Open

Canada’s Shapovalov falls to Fritz, makes second-round exit at Mexican Open

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov was handed a 6-4, 6-4 second-round loss by American Taylor Fritz on the Mexican Open Wednesday.

After taking a 2-1 lead within the opening set, Shapovalov dropped the following three video games. Fritz stored the Richmond Hill, Ont., native at bay from then on, as Shapovalov solely acquired inside a recreation earlier than dropping the set.

Within the second, Fritz jumped out to a 5-1 edge. A Shapovalov pressured error led to a deuce, from which Fritz took the benefit with a winner and proceeded to win his fifth recreation with one other pressured error from the Canadian.

Shapovalov received the following three video games, nonetheless, with the third seeing Fritz go with out a level however committing 4 consecutive pressured errors.

Fritz returned the favour the very subsequent recreation, closing the match by holding Shapovalov with out a level.

Shapovalov had 5 aces, received 78 per cent of first-serve factors and transformed 1-of-2 break level possibilities.

Fritz, the third seed within the match, had seven aces and received 97 per cent first-serve factors. He additionally went 3-for-5 on break-point alternatives.

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Ekholm’s sturdy defensive presence noticeable in debut as Oilers take down Maple Leafs

EDMONTON — Mattias Ekholm has seen the circus earlier than. 

However he’s by no means been allowed to take pleasure in it like he did on Wednesday, because the Edmonton Oilers‘ latest addition watched Connor McDavid notch his fifth consecutive two-goal recreation in a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

What was he considering whereas McDavid was doing his factor? A factor that hasn’t been achieved since Alex Mogilny some 30 years in the past? 

“It’s type of good to see that he doesn’t simply do it to you,” the large Swede mentioned with a smile. “Simply to see him do it in individual, it’s fairly cool. I imply, it’s like no person else.” 

With Ekholm consuming up nearly 21 minutes on the blue-line, Edmonton’s D-corps appeared not like something we’ve seen on this constructing this season. They have been a relaxed, stout and defensively sound unit, by no means unsure of dropping a degree in a recreation they dominated for many of 60 minutes — and all of the minutes that mattered.

“He confirmed precisely what he’s going to convey to this workforce tonight,” McDavid mentioned of Ekholm. “Simply steady. A very, actually good, stable defender again there.” 

If it was Edmonton’s defensive posture that Ekholm was introduced in to assist straighten out, then for one night time a minimum of, the Oilers stood up tall in opposition to one of many NHL’s greatest offensive golf equipment. Toronto had simply 22 photographs and one purpose at five-on-five, as Edmonton led 5-1 after two and gave up solely a powerplay purpose within the third. 

“Our workforce has been hitting its stride post-Christmas,” mentioned head coach Jay Woodcroft. “We needed to make some exhausting selections that drive tradition, and we’ve seen some sturdy outcomes. We’ve misplaced three of the final 20 in regulation.” 

Since Christmas the Oilers have gone 15-6-6, greatest within the Western Convention. Most significantly, in these 27 video games they’ve allowed two targets or much less 13 occasions. 

“They defended exhausting, performed us exhausting,” mentioned Toronto’s John Tavares, the precise quote Woodcroft would need to learn popping out of the opposition’s locker room. “We weren’t on the degree that we would have liked to be.”

The workforce with the NHL’s strongest offence, Edmonton goes to win 80 per cent of video games wherein they permit two or much less. 

Which is the place Ekholm is available in. 

“I take plenty of pleasure within the defensive aspect of the sport. I feel that’s the place I’m at my greatest,” he mentioned. “So figuring out that if I do my job to 100 per cent, there’s a excessive chance that the end result of the sport goes to be actually good.” 

The 32-year-old acquired to city at 1:30 p.m., and logged 20:50 of ice time — simply 30 seconds on the powerplay. Enjoying largely with Evan Bouchard — the pair was plus-2 — Ekholm’s presence merely eases the function of each different defenceman, making the group of seven look higher as a complete and individually. 

“When the batting order is about a sure method,” defined Woodcroft, “all people appears to be like good. I believed we acquired good minutes from all people who performed tonight — on the again finish and up entrance. However it was good so as to add somebody of Ekholm’s high quality to the lineup.” 

In entrance of a full home cut up equally amongst Oilers and Leafs followers, Edmonton truly deposited seven pucks previous Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov. One was known as again on a minor penalty, and one other on an early whistle — and clear referee’s error — that value Warren Foegele his twelfth of the season. 

And it was Samsonov, not Stuart Skinner, who was tasked with stopping three others that had followers with their arms within the air, anticipating the crimson gentle to go on. Skinner was pretty much as good as he needed to be, and you’ll’t sneeze at permitting solely two to a workforce with the weapons that Toronto has. 

However this recreation was Edmonton’s from the anthems to the post-game beers — a 5-2 recreation that simply might have been seven or eight to 2. 

After all, McDavid drove the bus. It’s not usually he received’t come up giant on the large stage — a nationally televised recreation in opposition to the mighty Maple Leafs. And on this night time he merely logged targets 51 and 52 on the season, then added an help for level quantity 118 in recreation No. 62. 

One other two-goal night time — his fifth in a row. Ho hum. 

“Typically it simply goes in,” he shrugged. “I felt like I used to be enjoying good hockey earlier than and it simply wasn’t moving into for me. You type of get a bounce and it appears to go in for you. It’s a humorous recreation that method.” 

In the meantime, this marked the a hundredth recreation behind the bench for Woodcroft. His file after the century milestone: 59-30-11, for a .645 factors share that’s fifth greatest in NHL over that span of time. 

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