Denis Shapovalov is only entering the main draw of the French Open for the second time, but is already showing that he is ready to make his mark on the Grand Slam tournament.
A Positive Year So Far
The Canadian is currently sitting at his career best world ranking of No.29 and is showing why he has been tipped to be a future Grand Slam champion.
At the Madrid Open, Shapovalov reached the semi-finals, before losing to fellow NextGen star Alexander Zverev. A step too far that showed the lefty still has elements of his game to improve upon.
However, at just 19 years of age, Shapovalov has been able to score wins over much more experienced players, including victories over Benoit Paire and Milos Raonic at Masters 1000 tournaments. A quarter-final match against British No.1 Kyle Edmund was another tough test that highlighted the character of the future star as he progressed through in three close sets.
Earlier this year, Shapovalov reached another semi-final at the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach, before losing to eventual champion, Frances Tiafoe.
Shapovalov’s recent form at Masters events has been impressive. At the Miami Open the youngster defeated a pair of seasoned professionals in Sam Querrey and Viktor Troicki to reach the Last 16. However, a three-set defeat to Borna Coric again showed the struggles Shapovalov faces when competing against fellow NextGen stars.
Bursting onto the Scene
Shapovalov’s victory over Rafael Nadal in 2017 grabbed the attention of the tennis world. Despite losing the first set, the young Canadian was able to power through and capture the match in a tight third set. This win gave Shapovalov confidence and propelled him into the semi-finals of the Montreal event.
Shapovalov’s spectacular one-handed backhand has brought about comparisons with Roger Federer. However, with this comparison has come added pressure. But the 2016 Junior Wimbledon champion seems to be coping with the high expectations very well, becoming the youngest player since 2005 to reach the world’s Top 30.
The Canadian has progressed up the rankings in fine fashion. This time last year the Israeli-born Shapovalov was 190 in the world rankings and now is fighting to end the year in the Top 20.
Roland Garros Expectations
The courts of Roland Garros may not be Shapovalov’s favourite surface, but his form on the clay this year has been pleasing for the youngster.
His latest outing at the Italian Open brought a defeat to Nadal in the Round of 16, however it was the earlier victories in the week that showed his raw talent. World No.17 Tomas Berdych, was once a regular in the latter stages of tournaments, so the 19 year-old’s victory after losing the first set 6-1 was an impressive feat.
Shapovalov thrives on the big stage. This was shown at last year’s US Open when the Canadian was able to reach the fourth round. A similar achievement at the Roland Garros would be a progression and help continue his deserved rise up the rankings.