Melbourne - Rising stars Denis Shapovalov and Andrey Rublev
tracked different routes in making winning starts to their Australian Open
campaigns in Melbourne on Monday.
Young Canadian Shapovalov showcased his exciting skills in
an impressive straight sets first-up victory, while Rublev needed five sets to
wear down Spanish slugger David Ferrer.
Shapovalov, the 50th-ranked left-hander, reeled off a 6-1,
6-3, 7-6 (7/5) victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in just under two
hours in his first appearance in Melbourne.
Widely seen as one of the up-and-coming stars in men's
tennis, the 18-year-old hammered 33 winners, backing up a strong service game.
The Canadian made his entrance on the big stage in August
with a win over Rafael Nadal at home in Montreal, before a run to the US Open
Another of the so-called "NextGen" brigade,
Russian Rublev overcame Spanish veteran Ferrer in five sets to advance to the
Rublev, the 30th seed, won an attritional battle with the
doughty back-courter before prevailing 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 in
3hr 50min on an outside court to reach the second round for the second straight
Rublev, the top-ranked Russian, reached the US Open
quarter-finals last year where he lost to eventual champion Nadal after
upsetting Grigor Dimitrov en route.
The 20-year-old claimed 13 service breaks and hit 77
winners, 40 of them coming off his strong forehand, but offset by 91 unforced
It was a merited win for Rublev over the tigerish Ferrer,
who was an Australian semi-finalist in 2013, the same year he lost to Nadal in
the French Open final.