Denis Shapovalov is getting his swagger back. He has always played his best tennis amidst the energy and buzz of the US Open. Tuesday night was no exception, when the Canadian had to face his compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime for the second year in a row.
In less than two hours, Shapovalov beat down the 18-year-old Canadian sensation 6-1 6-1 6-4. Proving that experience and previous momentum matter a great deal in the early rounds of a Grand Slam.
Shapovalov Continuing his Stellar Summer
After losing in the first round of Wimbledon, Shapovalov stepped away from tennis–to recharge and rediscover his love and passion for the game.
“As soon as I did that, a couple of weeks later, I wanted to get back on the court. That passion was back really quickly,” said Shapovalov. “I’m in a good place right now. I feel like I’m ready to continue and keep playing tournaments.”
At the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Shapovalov got right back to work with a straight-set victory over Philip-Hughes Herbert. Despite losing in three sets to 2019 BNP Paribas Open winner Dominic Thiem, the 20-year-old Shapovalov believed his game was trending in a positive direction.
The week before the US Open, Shapovalov secured three match victories, reaching the semifinals in Winston-Salem before losing to Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets. It was the appropriate amount of preparation necessary for Shapovalov to have success against Auger-Aliassime at the US Open.
Denis Shapovalov Ready for a Deep US Open Run
Felix Auger-Aliassime was the 18th seed coming into the US Open. With two finals appearances this season, the 18-year-old was anointed as the next big young player.
But it was clear battling Shapovalov that Auger-Aliassime was the inexperienced player. Not converting a single break point (0 for 5) and six double faults hindered Auger-Aliassime’s chances to win.
Shapovalov, on the other hand, served brilliantly, converting 85% of his first serves and 71% of his second serves. Even more impressive was the young Canadian’s ability to dictate points at the net, only losing two the entire match (16 of 18).
With the losses of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, and Roberto Bautista-Agut, the bottom half of the draw has opened up. If Shapovalov continues to dictate the pace from the baseline with his groundstrokes and serve well, the Canadian has a fantastic opportunity to make a deep run.
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