ATP Stockholm: Tommy Paul dethrones Denis Shapovalov and lifts first ATP title

The 24-year-old Tommy Paul claimed the first ATP title in Stockholm, dethroning Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes. World no. 52 took down Leo Borg, Taylor Fritz, Andy Murray and Frances Tiafoe to advance into his first ATP final, prevailing over Shapovalov and becoming the tenth first-time ATP champion in 2021. The American grabbed seven points more than the Canadian, fending off three out of five break chances and delivering two return games from 12 opportunities to find a way towards the finish line. Denis served at 70%, which did not bring him much, as he got broken once in sets one and three to finish runner-up. Paul built a slight advantage in the shortest and more advanced exchanges, starting all over after set number two to seal the deal in the decider and become the first American champion in Stockholm since James Blake in 2006.

Tommy Paul secured the first ATP title in Stockholm over Denis Shapovalov.

At the beginning of the encounter, Tommy wasted two break chances, and Denis closed the game with a service winner to avoid an early setback. In the third game, a left-hander cracked a backhand crosscourt winner to open a 2-1 gap before Paul brought the next one home with a service winner after deuce. Suddenly, Shapovalov got broken at love at 2-2 after netting an easy forehand, and Paul cemented the advantage with a hold at love in game six for 4-2. Serving for the opener, Tommy fired an ace down the T line in game ten to claim it 6-4 and gain a boost. At the beginning of the second set, Denis saved a break point and broke in the next one for a 2-0 lead. In the fifth game, the Canadian defended three break chances to open a 4-1 gap before erasing two more break points in game seven to stay in front.

Returning at 5-2, Shapovalov seized the second break following Paul’s volley error to clinch the set and become the favorite ahead of the decider. Serving at 2-2 in the final set, Denis neutralized two break points with winners and brave hitting before firing a service winner to bring the game home and unleash a massive roar. Tommy faced two break points at 3-4, in the game that could have been crucial had he failed to save any of those. The American stayed calm and clinched the game with a powerful attack that gave him a boost. Returning at 4-4, Paul earned a break at love and held with a forehand winner in the next one to seal the deal and celebrate the first ATP trophy after taking the last 11 points! 

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