Denis Shapovalov vs Jeremy Chardy: Canadian Open first round preview and prediction

RealSport preview the first round clash between hometown hero Denis Shapovalov and Jeremy Chardy of France in Toronto.

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(Photo credit: JC)

In a battle between a youthful Canadian #1 and one of the Tour’s more experienced veterans, Denis Shapovalov takes on Jeremy Chardy. Shapovalov made his name in Montreal last year with a thrilling run to the semifinals which included victories over Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal. Chardy, meanwhile, enjoyed his best ever run at a Masters 1000 in Canada three years ago when he reached the semifinals. But who will come out on top in this one?

History

Shapovalov and Chardy have met just once before, with that match coming last month at the All England Club in the first round. Shapovalov made the better start, taking the first set 6-3 only for Chardy to hit back and level the match by winning the second set by the same score. The third set ultimately proved decisive with Shapovalov taking it with a late break. Although Chardy continued the fight in the fourth, the match was gone and Shapovalov advanced a 6-3 3-6 7-5 6-4 winner.

Last time out

Shapovalov’s Wimbledon ultimately ended in disappointment in his second match where Benoit Paire rallied to beat him in four despite the Canadian winning the first set to love. He then began his hard court campaign in Washington where as the ninth seed he received a first-round bye. That saw him open his tournament against Daniil Medvedev, who he defeated 3-6 6-1 6-4. But he came up short against Kei Nishikori in the third round, losing 6-7 3-6.

After reaching the final in Rosmalen and the last four at Queen’s Club, Chardy looked to have run out of steam in his loss to Shapovalov at Wimbledon. He then played in Atlanta, where he was seeded sixth, defeating Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 in the first round before losing to Cameron Norrie 7-5 4-6 4-6. He joined Shapovalov in Washington, but lost in the second round in straight sets to Marius Copil after a first-round bye.

How do they match up?

Both Shapovalov and Chardy are blessed with plenty of power off the ground. Shapovalov’s forehand is already shaping to be one of the game’s best over the coming years, although he can struggle to deal with pace on that wing thanks to a large take back. His backhand is less dangerous, but he can still inject plenty of power into it when given time on the ball and he also defends better on that side. His lefty serve also provides him with a valuable weapon.

Chardy has long been reliant on his forehand to hurt his opponents. Fortunately for the Frenchman, there are few who can hit it harder than him and he will use it to put Shapovalov’s defensive skills to the test. Chardy is also accomplished in the forecourt. But, his backhand and serve are real weaknesses that have held him back throughout his career. Double faults are a particular problem for him in large part because of an often errant ball toss.

Prediction

Shapovalov is struggling for form at the moment, and he and Felix Auger-Aliassime received a fair hiding against Djokovic and Anderson in the doubles. But, he will doubtless have the extremely vocal backing of the crowd in his hometown and Chardy has not looked particularly impressive so far on the hard courts of North America. Add to that the confidence Shapovalov will have gained from beating him barely a month ago, and the signs point to a Canadian win. Shapovalov in three.

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