The No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic will take on Denis Shapovalov in the Round of 32 of the Italian Open on Wednesday.
It will be Djokovic’s first match in the tournament, as he received a bye in the first round. He is on a high right now, as he won the Madrid Open last week. The Serb was in stunning form in the Spanish capital, as he did not drop a single set in the whole tournament. He beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the final. It was a hugely impressive win for Djokovic as he warms up for the French Open.
Even though he won in Madrid, his recent record in tournaments is not encouraging. He went out of the Monte-Carlo Masters in the quarter-finals to Daniil Medvedev. Before that, Roberto Bautista Agut defeated him in the Round of 16 of the Miami Open. Djokovic’s last major title came in January when he beat Rafael Nadal to clinch the Australian Open crown. Since then, he has faltered a bit. But last week’s win in Madrid will surely encourage him to achieve something similar in Rome.
Shapovalov did play his first round match, and it was against Pablo Carreno Busta. He was in poor form coming into the Italian Open, as he was on a run of four consecutive losses. But, he shook off that rust against Carreno Busta. He beat the Spaniard 6-3, 7-6, (7-5) to progress to the second round. The game was not easy, and he came through a close tie-breaker in the second set to wrap up the victory.
These two players have some recent history. They have met twice this calendar year already. Djokovic got the better of Shapovalov in the Australian Open in the Round of 32. Then they met in the Indian Wells Masters as well, albeit it was a doubles clash. Djokovic and Fabio Fognini got the better of Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna on that day. Shapovalov had a few words of praise for the Serb in a press conference.
The Canadian said: “I have been really trying to study his game, how he returns, how well he moves on the court and growing up I was a big fan of Novak, just because his game is unbelievable. The way he moves but also I looked up something because he was always that kind of No. 3 guy after Roger and Rafa and he proved himself that he is capable to breakthrough, so I looked up to him.”
Novak Djokovic vs Denis Shapovalov Prediction
Djokovic will be the clear favourite in this one, and he should progress to the Round of 16. He played well on clay in Madrid, and that form should carry through. Despite Shapovalov’s best efforts, Djokovic’s shot-making should be too much for the Canadian to handle. A win in straight sets is highly likely for the No.1 seed.