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Second round loss eliminates Canada’s Shapovalov from Cincinnati tennis tournament

CINCINNATI — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is out at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati after dropping a stiff battle to Benoit Paire of France.

Paire won 5-of-11 break points and 73 per cent of his first serve points to take a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory early on Wednesday morning.

Shapovalov struggled with his serve at times in the two-hour, 12-minute second-round match, registering nine double faults, including six in the third set alone.

The 22-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., came into the tournament as the No. 6 seed.

Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, the No. 12 seed, is set to face Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the round of 32 later on Wednesday, while the No. 7-seed Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., will take on Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic in women’s singles action.

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Paire will face either No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy or American qualifier John Isner in the round of 16.

Shapovalov, the world No. 10, and Paire traded break points repeatedly in the third set of Wednesday’s match, with the Frenchman showing frustration at times.

Shapovalov broke him early to take a 1-0 lead and Paire responded by sending a ball into the stands. He was given a warning by the chair umpire and then a point penalty minutes later when he shouted an obscenity in French.

The 32-year-old Frenchman, ranked 50th in the world, evened the third set at 2-2 as Shapovalov struggled with his first serve.

The Canadian went up with a beautiful play at the net, breaking Paire for a second time, but was broken right back in the next game.

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Paire called for a medical timeout midway through the second set. A doctor came to see him on the side of the court and the tennis player appeared to take some pills before returning to the match.

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Shapovalov broke Paire early in the second set, too, taking a 1-0 lead when sent a return long.

It was Paire who broke Shapovalov in the first set after the Canadian double faulted.

Minutes later, Shapovalov slammed his racket to the ground after committing another unforced error.

Shapovalov came to Cincinnati following a disappointing performance at the National Bank Open in Toronto where he was ousted from the second round by American qualifier Frances Tiafoe.

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