Photo: US Open
Denis Shapovalov is through to the second round of the 2020 US Open Tennis Championships following a composed 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over American wild card Sebastian Korda on Monday afternoon in New York City.
Shapovalov was largely clinical throughout the match, despite a second-set blip which saw him commit several unforced errors under the weight of scoreboard pressure. Korda, the son of 1998 Australian Open men’s singles champions Petr Korda, showed the promise that earned him wildcard entry into the Grand Slam event. However, it was the gulf in experience between the American and Shapovalov at this level of competition – despite only a year’s difference in age – that was ultimately the decisive factor.
Both players held firm on serve in the early proceedings. Although Shapovalov was able to make better inroads on his 6’5” opponent’s serve, he wasn’t able to secure a break until the ninth game of the first set. It would be all he’d need to close out the advantage one game later, but he was unable to capitalize on the momentum in the second. Korda, using impressive net-rushing tactics and a picture-perfect backhand, was able to wrestle control of the set, much to the disappointment of Team Shapo.
Despite needing a medical timeout following the third game of the third set for an apparent hip/lower back concern, Shapovalov would regroup with aplomb, steadying the ship and letting his electric groundstrokes fly off both wings.
The two sets were vintage Shapovalov, and after just under three hours of solid competition, it was the Canadian who was able to secure victory and, with it, a spot in the second round of his most successful Grand Slam to date.
The 21 year old will look to improve on his career-best showing at the US Open from 2017, where he upset former Top 10 player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to the fourth round, where he fell to Pablo Carreno Busta in three tie-break sets.
Up next for Shapovalov is the winner of the first-round match between American Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea.