In one of the highlights of round two, top Next Gen star Denis Shapovalov plays former finalist Jo Wilfried Tsonga. It’s an intriguing matchup on paper with the Canadian looking to further establish himself as one of the top players to watch in the future.
Tsonga confirmed himself as a top 16 player for 2018 despite a fairly disappointing slate of slam results including a first round loss in Paris and a second round defeat in New York. It was fairly routine stuff for the Frenchman in round one as he saw off qualifier Kevin King in straight sets 6-4 6-4 6-1. He was solid on serve throughout and did not get broken once throughout.
Shapovalov had a tougher opponent to begin his tournament although the victory was just as straight forward, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. There were high hopes for that match as one of the highlights off day 1 and a potential preview for late slam matches in the future but it disappointed. Shapovalov rushed into a 5-0 lead to begin the first and controlled the match throughout, save for a minor blip in the third. “I felt from the warmup that I was feeling the ball really clean and I was able to get the lead right from the start. I thought maybe he would start off tight and that’s what happened and I was able to maintain it really well.” he said afterwards.
The Canadian took a huge step last summer with his Canada Masters run and followed it up with a fourth round appearance in New York. That included a win over Tsonga in straight sets. Whether the Canadian can repeat that is doubtful, but it once again serves as a good test for his current level to begin 2018.
Prediction – Jo Wilfried Tsonga in 4 sets