Denis Shapovalov is without a doubt one of the most spectacular and promising youngster from the new generation. He has a lot of heart and fights hard for every point.
He is still in the pursue of consistency though. The good news is that he is extremely young and that he is playing well. His flaws come with the age. He doesn’t have patience and enough experience to deal with difficult situations.
The Canadian lost in the opener of Shanghai against Troicki, where he had a total meltdown in the decider. He explained that after the match by saying he had a virus and was advised not to play, as he could make it worse. But he received a wild card and wanted to honor that opportunity.
Today he played in the Antwerp Open, Belgium. His first round foe was Ernesto Escobedo. It was a battle of the youth. Denis is 18 years old and the American is 21.
The youngsters produced an exciting display, playing spectacular rallies since the get go. But the 3 years gap proved to be decisive in terms of experience. Escobedo had patience and Shapovalov didn’t. The Next Gen star was playing well, but his mistakes were that he was hitting all the balls decisively and attacking without proper preparation. His attacking game is very good, but the defensive one still needs a lot of work.
Another aspect where Ernesto was superior was the serve. He has a more powerful one, which proved to be the necessary advantage to clinch the first tight set, 7-6 (5).
Escobedo often passed Shapovalov when coming to the net and played a lot of defensive shots in order to build on his offensive. So in the second set Shapovalov had a short meltdown which cost him the match. The American managed to take 3 games in a row and kept his serve until the end. He was hitting long and fast, trying to take the teenager’s time to prepare his shots as much as possible. The Canadian could rarely read Escobedo’s serve.
The Canadian tried to attack more and to put himself back with a chance, but his lack of patience proved too much today. Escobedo was focused during the big points and had the maturity to wait and attack when was the appropriate time. He won a hard fought match, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Elsewhere, Stefanos Tsitsipas produced an amazing display to upset Pablo Cuevas, 6-1, 6-4. The Greek teenager won his second match on the senior tour, after winning his first in Shanghai against Next Gen star, Karen Khachanov. He will play the giant Croat, Ivo Karlovic.
After a few great weeks, Alexandr Dolgopolov fell in the first round here, against Henri Laaksonen, 6-2, 7-6 (5).