Mover of the Week
There was really only one candidate for Mover of the Week, despite a number of great performances. Young Canadian Denis Shapovalov delighted the crowd all week as his exciting brand of attacking tennis fired him to the semi-finals in Montreal. His run began with a thrilling three set victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva in which he saved four match points during a second set tie break. He then broke Dutra Silva halfway through the second set with a scintillating backhand pass and went on to the see out the match. That earned him a match up with 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. Few fancied the young gun against the big Argentine, but Shapovalov pulled off the upset again, coming through in straight sets.
But the biggest shock was yet to come. After defeating Del Potro he came up against an even more decorated player. That player was Rafael Nadal, the holder of 15 Grand Slam titles and 30 at Masters 1000 level. Nadal took the first set and it looked like Shapovalov’s run would come to an end in the third round at the hands of the illustrious Spaniard. But the Canadian was not to be denied so easily. He fought back in the second set, taking it 6-4 to move into a decider. There he withstood Nadal, holding serve after a 14-minute epic early on, and eventually reaching a tie break. Nadal won the first three points but Zverev took seven of the next eight to pull off an astonishing upset.
He went onto defeat France’s Adrian Mannarino in the quarter-finals before eventual champion Alexander Zverev finally ended his run in the semis. As a result of his terrific week, Shapovalov soared up the rankings, entering the top 100 for the first time. He now sits at 67th in the world. His rankings jump was unfortunately not in time to earn him direct entry into the US Open. But it should provide him with a good platform to climb higher up the rankings, as well as gain him entry to more main tour draws. It also sends him to fourth place in the Race to Milan, a tournament he will now feel confident about qualifying for. With few points to defend, if Shapovalov can perform well for the rest of the year, he could finish it ranked inside the top 50.
Loser of the Week
American Steve Johnson’s difficult year is showing few signs of improvement. After the unexpected passing of his father before Roland Garros, he went on an emotional run to the third round. But his form since has been stuttering. He fell at the first hurdle at Queen’s to his countryman Stefan Kozlov and lost in the quarter-finals at Eastbourne to Daniil Medvedev. Though he made it to the round of 32 at Wimbledon, he lost early again to Medvedev in Washington. This was followed by a first round loss to Gael Monfils in Montreal. None of the losses were terrible, but they have seen Johnson fall steadily down the rankings. He now sits at 37th in the world. With the US Open around the corner, he risks going to New York unseeded.
It is a disappointing loss of form for a man who once went undefeated for over two years in NCAA tennis. His game has always been limited by his inability to come over the ball on the backhand but he had developed a good career for himself. He did manage a second career title in Houston earlier in the year but that success feels a long time ago and was really the only bright spot for the year. Personal issues doubtless haven’t helped, but Johnson will be eager for a turnaround in form under the lights in New York. A good performance in Cincinnati, where he begins against David Ferrer, would be a good start to that turnaround but whether he has the performance in him is unclear.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev had a great week in Montreal, winning the title after defeating Roger Federer in the final. If not for the astonishing run of Denis Shapovalov, he would have claimed the Mover of the Week title. The win at the Rogers Cup, his second straight Masters 1000 triumph earned him a one spot ranking jump, overhauling Dominic Thiem. Now at seventh, he is guaranteed to rise to at least world number six after Cincinnati due to defending champion Marin Cilic’s withdrawal. With Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka missing until 2018, and Andy Murray and Cilic struggling with injury, Zverev could conceivably finish the year ranked inside the top four. That would be an impressive achievement indeed for the 20-year-old.
After an injury wracked 2016, Kevin Anderson is getting back to his best. It would be even better without Zverev, who has now defeated him two weeks in a row in Washington and Montreal. But a run to the final in the US capital, followed by a quarter-final showing at the Rogers Cup is a good effort from the big South African. It sees him rise back into the top 30 at 27th in the world, virtually guaranteeing him a seeding at the year’s final Major. If he continues to play well, he could find himself in the top 20 at the year’s end. That would be a more fitting reflection of his talents.
- Andy Murray, 7750 points, no change
- Rafael Nadal, 7465 points, no change
- Roger Federer, 7145 points, no change
- Stan Wawrinka, 5780 points, no change
- Novak Djokovic, 5325 points, no change
- Marin Cilic, 5155 points, no change
- Alexander Zverev, 4470 points, moves up one place
- Dominic Thiem, 4030 points, drops down one place
- Kei Nishikori, 3285 points, no change
- Milos Raonic, 3230 points, no change
- Grigor Dimitrov, 3070 points, no change
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 2770 points, no change
- David Goffin, 2560 points, no change
- Roberto Bautista Agut, 2390, moves up two places
- Tomas Berdych, 2480 points, moves down one place
- Jack Sock, 2330 points, moves up one place
- Pablo Carreno Busta, 2305 points, drops down two places
- Lucas Pouille, 2220 points, no change
- John Isner, 2110 points, no change
- Sam Querrey, 2060 points, no change
- Gael Monfils, 2005 points, moves up one place
- Gilles Muller, 1885 points, drops down one place
- Nick Kyrgios, 1770 points, moves up one place
- Albert Ramos Vinolas, 1735, drops down one place
- Fabio Fognini, 1545 points, no change
Who was your mover of the week? Let us know in the comments below!
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