The Canadian advanced to the first ATP final of his career on Saturday, defeating Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Stockholm Open.
Shapovalov rose up the rankings with a solid 2017 rookie season that saw him reach the semifinals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal and the fourth round of the U.S. Open a month later. But he struggled to find consistent results after that.
“I feel like I shot up the rankings with a couple of big results but to be honest, my game wasn’t there — I was really flashy, really big tennis, but I was up and down,” he said after winning Saturday’s semifinal. “So I worked really hard over the last couple of years to strengthen other parts of my game and really try to make it complete and I still feel like there’s a lot of room to grow.
“I’m happy to be doing so well at the end of this year but hopefully I can keep going so a couple years down the road I can potentially be a Grand Slam contender.”
Shapovalov will play Filip Krajinovic of Serbia on Sunday for the title at the ATP 250 tournament.
No Canadian has won on the ATP Tour since Milos Raonic in Brisbane in January 2016.
Shapovalov was previously 0 for 7 in ATP semifinals before Saturday’s win.