For over 17 years Rafael Nadal has been the man to beat at Roland Garros, but this year's French Open could see a changing…
You could not ask for a better fourth round match than this.
The infamous giant killer Denis Shapovalov and ATP Finals winner and world No.3 Alexander Zverev will clash in the Round of 16, presumably on a packed Rod Laver Arena. Here’s why this match could be one of the biggest in this tournament.
After defeating Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Finals, Zverev has been in red-hot form in 2022. Winning all matches apart from an ATP Cup clash with Felix Auger Aliassime, he has not dropped a single set in this year’s Australian Open, defeating fellow German Daniel Altmaier, fan favourite John Millman, and veteran Radu Albot.
His only noticeable weakness would be his second serve, conceding quite a few double faults in all his matches. But against Auger Aliassime, viewers were reminded of an inability of his to be able to put away fiery opponents.
Zverev was often challenged when a match went to five sets, and the opponent’s spirits lifted. This fault in the system actually cost him the US Open, when Austrian Dominic Theim just squeezed home in a way that broke the hearts of Hamburg.
Sascha can make a few unforced errors when the pressure builds up on him, and this may be what Shapovalov will look to exploit. He will have to focus here to avoid a broken racquet.
A close encounter with Reilly Opelka in the third round may prove costly for the Canadian here. He has already dropped four sets in this tournament, and this could take effect against the big German, who may look to keep Shapovalov running.
The Canadian has looked mightily impressive at points in this tournament, but he has made some cheap mistakes on his serve return which have cost him breaks at times. However, he is seeded at 14, and he can play better than this. He will have to bring his A-game to this match, as Zverev will play out of his skin. He will look to fire up the crowd in this match, with some Nick Kyrgios-style play, and look to keep the pressure on Zverev.
Fireworks are guaranteed when these two square off. This match will be a test of match fitness, and strategy, as they try to gain the upper hand.
Shapo will have to fire up the crowd and make Zverev crack somehow, but the No.2 seed can look to exploit Shapovalov at the net, and make him play some loose shots. I’d say this match may turn into another Daniil Medvedev-Kyrgios-style affair, but the German should be able to show his class and win here.
I’m going with Alexander Zverev to win in four sets, as long as Shapo doesn’t hit the umpire with another wayward forehand, but this match is one that could easily turn on its head.
If the Canadian is in that mood, he can just about beat anyone. Zverev will have to look to break early to keep Shapovalov’s spirits low.