Shapovalov Sails Past Noguchi

Canadian to meet ninth seed Coric in quarter-finals

Denis Shapovalov continues to excel on this season's Asian Swing. The seventh seed has followed up his run to the Seoul final with two dominant wins in Tokyo to advance to the quarter-finals at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

On Thursday, he breezed past Japanese qualifier Rio Noguchi 6-3, 6-1 to reach his sixth quarter-final of the season and end the 23-year-old Noguchi's debut tournament on the ATP Tour.

"I'm definitely happy to be in the quarters here," Shapovalov said post-match. "I always feel like I bring out some good tennis late in the year, and I'm very happy that's the case again. Hopefully I can keep rolling with it."

The Canadian did not face a break point, taking full advantage of the quick conditions under the closed roof in the Ariake Colosseum.

"The fast court plays well into my game," he added. "I think I've been serving great on this court... we'll try to take advantage this week."

Shapovalov will seek to maintain his strong form as he bids for his first ATP Head2Head win in his third try against Borna Coric. The ninth-seeded Coric also advanced to the quarter-finals on Thursday with a 7-5, 6-2 victory against San Diego champion Brandon Nakashima, whose father is of Japanese descent.

"He's a tricky player for sure," Shapovalov said of Coric. "I've struggled with him in the past. He's been playing some great tennis this season. It's going to be a tough match."

The matchup is set to close play on Friday in the Ariake Colosseum.

Photo Credit: Hiroshi Sato