Shapovalov off to a strong start at 2018 Australian Open

Denis Shapovalov (Wikimedia Commons)

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ontario has got off to a strong start at the 2018 Australian Open in Melbourne. In the first round on Sunday, Shapovalov had no problems in beating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, 7-6.

Even though Shapovalov beat Tsitsipas rather handily, there is no doubt that Tsitsipas has a very bright future at 19 years of age. The 89th ranked player in the world had played much better than Shapovalov heading into the Australian Open. Earlier this month Tsitsipas reached the quarterfinals of the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open in Doha, where he beat three-time grand slam semi-finalist Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-4. Tsitsipas then played Austria’s Dominic Thiem extremely tight in a 7-5, 6-4 loss in the quarterfinals.

Shapovalov meanwhile only registered a record of one win and two losses in Australian Open tuneup tournaments in Auckland, New Zealand and Brisbane, and did not seem to generate the same flow to his game that he had in 2017. Things changed in the first round in Melbourne however as Shapovalov was very efficient as he eliminated Tsitsipas in less than two hours and had 33 winners compared to Tsitsipas’s 11.

Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, British Columbia won a set against reigning Wimbledon finalist and sixth ranked Marin Cilic of Croatia, but lost 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6. Three other Canadians play Monday night in the first round. 22nd ranked Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ontario plays Lukas Lacko of Slovakia and Peter Polansky of Toronto, Ontario plays Karen Khachanov of Russia in men’s action and Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal, Quebec plays Oceane Dodin of France in women’s action.

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