This year’s Miami Masters has thrown up an intriguing semi-final line-up with two young Canadians taking on a couple of veterans of the game.
It's a match up I have been looking forward to my whole life, a high stakes match against your idol. It's just a dream come true Denis Shapovalov
Denis Shapovalov, 19, faces the evergreen Roger Federer while the latest fast rising future star, Felix Auger-Aliassime, 18, faces and equally tall task with the 6’10” John Isner.
For Shapovalov the meeting with Federer is a dream come true, but he will have his hands full as the great Swiss now chasing his 101st career title, made light work of Kevin Anderson in their quarter-finals clash as he romped past the South African 6-0 6-4.
Shapovalov, who beat fellow young gun Frances Tiafoe 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 to reach his third ATP Masters semi-final, grew up idolising and studying the 20-time Slam-champion.
“It’s a match up I have been looking forward to my whole life, a high stakes match against your idol. It’s just a dream come true,” said Shapovalov of their first meeting on court.
“I will try and approach it like any other game, try and enjoy it, give it my all. It will be a difficult match but I am just happy to have a chance to play him.”
With Shapovalov taking on Federer and long-time friend and compatriot Auger-Aliassime, facing defending champion John Isner in the semis, the tennis stars of tomorrow are beginning to make their mark where it matters
“It’s crazy for me and Felix to both have reached the semi-finals,” Shapovalov said, while Federer called the clash of generations “exciting”.
“It’s an exciting draw, for John and for myself here, playing these young guys,” Federer said. “They are not just young, but they are very good, as well.
“I practiced with Denis way back, he might have been 16, 17. He was just hitting big. I was, like, ‘Wow, it’s unbelievable. How old is he? How good is he going to get? It’s going to be tough against him.”