NEW YORK — When his US Open run had come to a close, Denis Shapovalov put his bag down on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court and acknowledged the crowd.
He bowed, waived and blew kisses to the near 23,000 fans who had vocally supported him during his time here.
"Honestly, it was so much fun to be part of that atmosphere and the match and this whole two weeks," the 18-year-old Canadian said after his fourth-round loss to No. 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta, 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(3). "You know, it's another life-changing event for me, and first of all, it's thanks to the crowd. They have been having my back these past couple months. They have been really carrying me. Without them, surely enough, it wouldn't be possible.'
While Carreno Busta moves on to his second major quarterfinal of the year without having dropped a set, Shapovalov will look ahead to a Davis Cup tie against India in two weeks and then to the Laver Cup, where he will play for John McEnroe's World Team and Bjorn Borg's Europe Team in Prague.
"He is on fire," said Carreno Busta, still the highest-remaining seed on the bottom half of the draw. "He is playing with a lot of confidence. He is very young so maybe in the future he will be one of the best."
After winning three qualifying matches and three main-draw matches, Shapovalov had his chances in the fourth round. He led 5-2 in the first set and later had three set points but could not convert against the steady Spaniard.
"There's always points that you would wish or want to change," Shapovalov said. "I don't know. I don't think there is one specific moment that changed the match. I had a lot of chances and so did he. But he just played better in the big moments."
Shapovalov was the fourth straight qualifier Carreno Busta played but he didn't compete like one.
"Of course Shapovalov is not a normal qualifier," he said. "His level is better than a qualifier level."
After dropping two tiebreaks in the first two sets, Shapovalov led 3-0 in the final set and looked like he might extend the match, but he gave back the break in the fifth game and then bowed out in a third straight breaker.
"I mean, it's tennis," he said. "It's a sport. You don't know what's going to happen the next point, so it's always a roller coaster ride."