STOCKHOLM — Canadian Denis Shapovalov has his first ATP Tour title.
The fourth-seeded Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., captured the Stockholm Open on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Serbian Filip Krajinovic.
"I think it's a big step to win my first title," he said. "Honestly, I think the most important thing for me is just to keep improving my game."
Not only was it Shapovalov's first ATP title but he becomes the first Canadian Tour winner since Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., in Brisbane in January 2016.
It marked the first time Shapovalov had ever faced the No. 60-ranked Krajinovic.
The Canadian was ranked No. 34 in the world prior to this week's action but will crack the top-30 with this result for the first time since July. In April, Shapovalov jumped to a career-best 20th in the world rankings from No. 23 after reaching the semifinals of the Miami Open.
"I was No. 20 in the world but I'm not concerned about getting back to that ranking," he said. "I'm really happy with this week.
"I'm just going to try to take it one week at a time."
This tournament was also a breakthrough for Shapovalov, who'd been 0-7 in semifinals before beating Yuichi Sugita on Saturday to advance to the final. And despite the victory, Shapovalov said he's far from being a finished product.
"There's a lot to improve," he said. "I think there's still a lot, not gaps, but areas where I can get better.
"I can definitely get (cleaner) at the net, improve my returns, improve my movements. There's many things I can get better (at) that will help me for the future."
Shapovalov didn't drop a set en route to becoming the first Canadian champion in this event.
"This tournament started the year my mom was born, so it has got a great history and it is amazing to be the first Canadian to win it," he said. "I've seen all the amazing names up on the board, so it will be nice to see my name up there as well."
A Krajinovic double fault at 1-1 gave Shapovalov the crucial service break in the first set. The Canadian finished the opening set by converting on his third set point.
Shapovalov earned his second break to go ahead 5-4 in the second set. He closed out the match on his first championship point.
"I told myself as long as I keep taking care of my serve I will be okay," said Shapovalov. "In the second set, it was a little bit tough.
"I had a lot of deuce games on his serve and I wasn't able to convert. I just kept fighting and stayed patient. Sooner or later I was able to get the break."
Shapovalov also denied Krajinovic his first ATP Tour title.
"He was the better player today, for sure, he played really well," said Krajinovic. "It was a great week for me, I keep going and I have to work."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2019.