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Shapovalov’s struggles continue in 1st-round loss to qualifier at Marseille event

Denis Shapovalov’s struggles to start the 2024 tennis season continued Tuesday with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 loss to French qualifier Hugo Gaston at the Open 13 Provence tournament.

The meeting was a rematch from the opening round of last week’s tournament in Montpelier, France, where Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., defeated Gaston to pick up his only win of the year so far.

But despite firing 17 aces, Shapovalov struggled in Tuesday’s match. He faced break point 14 times, saving 10, and hit into eight double faults.

After dominating the second set, Shapovalov picked up his fourth break of the match to go up 3-2 in the third. But Gaston won the next four games to clinch the win.

Gaston will face another Frenchman, fourth seed Ugo Humbert, in the second round.

Seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime on Montreal, who is coming off a run to the semifinals at Montpelier, faces French qualifier Quentin Halys in first-round action on Wednesday.

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