Denis Shapovalov needs major scalp to take next step
Denis Shapovalov had a breakout in his career at Wimbledon in 2021 when he reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time. The Canadian produced impressive performances to defeat home favourite Andy Murray and then the eighth seed Roberto Bautista-Agut to advance to the quarter-finals.
Shapovalov was outstanding to overcome Karen Khachanov in the last eight, booking a showdown against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. Although the Canadian put forward a fine outing against Djokovic, the brilliance of the Serb was too much in crucial moments. Djokovic won the key points when it mattered the most to edge out Shapovalov in straight sets. Although Shapovalov would have been disappointed to miss out on reaching a Grand Slam final for the first time, there was hope that he would build on his success.
However, it has not been the case as he’s endured an underwhelming 2022 season. He did start the 2022 campaign in encouraging fashion at the Australian Open, reaching the last eight by defeating Reilly Opelka and the third seed Alexander Zverev. Once again he was faced with one of the all-time greats in the form of Rafael Nadal. The Canadian played a tough game and took Nadal all the way to a fifth set, but couldn’t get the decisive blow and lost out to the eventual winner of the tournament.
It was as good as it got for Shapovalov, who was eliminated in the first round of the French Open, the second round of Wimbledon, and the third round at the US Open. His disappointing form in 2022 has knocked him down to 16th place in the world rankings.
Shapovalov’s hopes of competing in the Australian Open to kickstart his 2023 campaign on the front foot look unlikely with Betway backing him at 33/1 to win the tournament. Betway is one of the most popular operators in Ontario, and users can find value in backing their compatriot to win the Australian Open, but he is a long way off the pace of Djokovic, Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, and impressive Carlos Alcaraz as the leading contenders for the crown.
Whereas Alcaraz has burst onto the scene to win his first major at the US Open, along with making a decisive impact against Nadal and Djokovic in his matches against the illustrious duo. Shapovalov has struggled to impose himself on the current hierarchy at the top of the men’s game.
The Canadian has lost all seven of his matches against Djokovic and has a 2-4 record against Nadal. It is a similar story against Medvedev, including a defeat in the final of the Vienna Open in October, while he is yet to meet Alcaraz on the court. Unless Shapovalov can take the next step against the elite players in the game, he will be doomed to only reaching the quarter-final and no further.
The 23-year-old has potential and he has the attributes to be a challenger at the highest level, but until he gains the confidence of beating a quality opponent in a meaningful game, then Grand Slams and major titles will elude him.
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