Rivard: Shapovalov recaptures the magic


What a reduction!

It’d been some time since I’d seen Denis Shapovalov play 4 straight matches with such talent.

I’m speaking about these 4 matches on the ATP 250 Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul.

As for his opponents No. 59 Jaume Munar (59th), No. 91 Radu Albot and No. 46 Jenson Brooksby (forty sixth), who performed some incredible tennis regardless of their respective rankings, Shapovalov made all of them disappear with a flick of his magic wand.

Or ought to I say, magic racket. The one which makes him a tennis magician.

However this time, our tow-headed wizard was much more affected person than traditional earlier than casting his spell on his rivals.

Picture : AFP

Three virtually good productions and one other very good demonstration in the course of the closing, which he misplaced to No. 41 Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.

A lot to the delight of everybody in attendance on web site and at house, the ultimate was jam-packed with 20- and 25-shot rallies. Shapovalov misplaced most of them to his metronomic rival, however the mere undeniable fact that he was in a position to wait them out is a transparent signal of maturity. As a result of as spectacular because the Torontonian’s winners are, their modest probabilities of success in the end get him into bother.

Picture : Getty

Shapovalov has nothing to be ashamed of within the 6-4, 7-6(5) loss. Nishioka performed a fully good match by his requirements.

A lot in order that I’m wondering how the Japanese ace hasn’t risen greater than his present No. 41 rankings. He will not be particularly tall or particularly highly effective, however he’s formidably resilient. He’s even competed in 5 Challenger tournaments this season. Anybody who sat by means of the ultimate should nonetheless be questioning how he was in a position to play at such a excessive stage for over two hours.

Picture : AFP

All of the glory goes to the winner, however let’s understand that Shapo’s new model of tennis stands out as the set off that can lastly give substance to the lefty’s distinctive potential.

Certainly, Shapovalov delivered all the things his immeasurable expertise afforded him with none of the recurrent squandering his perspective can typically trigger. He nonetheless made a number of too many double faults (6 within the semi, 6 within the closing), however his first serves had been working for him (65% in 4 matches). His inclination to repeat his serve toss solely manifested itself on uncommon events all through the match.

Don’t get me unsuitable: I’ve been an avid fan of Shapovalov’s since I first noticed him compete as a junior, right through his breakthrough in 2017 and fast rise into the Prime 10.

However as time went on, his big potential needed to coexist with a mindset poker gamers are all too conversant in: going all in. As many commentators have mentioned, there isn’t a stunt he hasn’t pulled, whether or not the timing was proper or not.

And that’s what’s stored him the place he’s, with the occasional superb match.

I hear what you’re saying: he’s solely 23. He’s slowly maturing and can finally discover the suitable stability between doing what feels good and hitting a spectacular shot each time the chance presents itself and staying calm till there’s a gap within the rally.

And that’s precisely what I noticed him do in Seoul.

Picture : Getty

One match doesn’t a season make, by any means, however you’ve gotta begin someplace. And that someplace began with three weeks off after the US Open and a few competitors at an ATP 250 occasion at which he was seeded fourth. When the highest three took their depart (Ruud eradicated by Nishioka, Norrie injured and Fritz out sick), Denis was all of a sudden the favorite as he entered the semis.

When he left Montréal after a first-round loss to Alex de Minaur, he was a on horrible streak of 9 losses in his final 10 matches. He flew out of South Korea with a 7–3 document.

I can’t wait to see how he wraps up the season.

To raised put together for the subsequent one.

Hyeon Chung: again once more

Picture : Yonhap Information Company

Does the photograph remind you of something? Of anybody?

In 2018, these white-framed glasses grew to become the one-of-a-kind trademark of a South Korean ace named Hyeon Chung. These glasses and his astounding potential.

After a relentless string of accidents and almost 5 years after he dazzled the world in a Slam semifinal, Chung is re-emerging. Working to (lastly) give substance to his immense expertise, he made a comeback on the ATP 250 Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, not too removed from his hometown of Suwon.

Picture : Yonhap Information Company

With Soonwoo Kwon, he performed three doubles matches. The Korean workforce handled native followers to 2 wins, however fell within the semis to the second seeds, Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela of Mexico.

All of us found Hyeon Chung on the similar time: in 2017, on the very first NextGen match at which he dominated a area of gamers who’ve turn into the ATP’s new stars within the post-Huge Three period.

The 21-and-unders who’ve competed at NextGen occasions embody Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Rublev, Shapovalov, de Minaur, Tiafoe, Ruud, Hurkacz, Fritz, Sinner and Alcaraz. And you’ll rely on future editions to maintain introducing us to the members of the subsequent Prime 10s.

In 2017, Chung received all of it. That fall in Milan, within the absence of Alexander Zverev who was already No.3, he was unbeatable, overpowering Medvedev, Shapovalov and Rublev. Twice.

However his meteoric rise was quick lived.

When he began his comeback on September 28, 2022, it’d been 730 days since his final aggressive match. And it’d been 1,710 days (244 weeks) since he shocked the tennis world together with his semifinal berth on the 2018 AO.

Had you already forgotten? In January 2018, Hyeon Chung demolished Medvedev, Zverev and Djokovic in that order, back-to-back. Whereas Medvedev and Zverev weren’t the gamers they’re right now, Djokovic undoubtedly was.

After pocketing a 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-6(3) win, Chung moved on to the semis, the place Federer was ready within the wings.

However the dream match was over quickly. Trailing 1-6, 2-5, the up-and-comer suffered an enormous blister on his left foot. As resilient as he had been since his emergence, he was however a shadow of his former self.

Picture : AP

Just a few months later, on April 1, 2018, he ascended to No.19 on the heels of three straight quarterfinals and a semifinal.

Then started a gradual descent into oblivion—a again damage that sidelined him for six months and a 10-14 document between April 30, 2018, and February 11, 2019.

When he got here again to tennis on the Chengdu Challenger in China, he took the title and fueled hopes he’d be again on observe very quickly.

Hyeon Chung holds a trophy and a stuffed panda

In 2020, he competed in solely 4 matches—his fourth and final being a second-round loss when his again went out within the qualifiers of Roland-Garros towards then No. 208 Renzo Olivo of Argentina.

So, what does the long run maintain for Hyeon Chung?

Solely his well being will inform. However how can we not want him to be pain-free and reconfirm his real expertise? In any case, at 26, he might nonetheless have 10 good years to point out us what he can do.

In 2020, he competed in solely 4 matches—his fourth and final being a second-round loss when his again went out within the qualifiers of Roland-Garros towards then No. 208 Renzo Olivo of Argentina.

So, what does the long run maintain for Hyeon Chung?

Solely his well being will inform. However how can we not want him to be pain-free and reconfirm his real expertise? In any case, at 26, he might nonetheless have 10 good years to point out us what he can do.

Picture : Yonhap Information Company

If anybody’s discovered that all the things in life is relative, it’s Hyeon Chung. On the day earlier than the primary match in his comeback, he was stuffed with knowledge and lucidity: “I used to take tennis with no consideration, however now I’m simply grateful for the prospect to place my foot on the courtroom.”

Low cost shot

Picture : Tennismajors.com

On the weekend tennis misplaced its mannequin participant in Roger Federer, one who embodies the alternative actually stood out.

Specifically No.44 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

Within the closing of the ATP 250 Moselle Open in Metz, France, Bublik determined to entertain the group. In opposition to No.65 Lorenzo Sonego of Italy, he displayed some clownish—and insulting—behaviour.

And he regarded silly.

Nonetheless, Sonego bought his revenge in the easiest way: by maintaining the combat and profitable 7-6(3), 6-2.

I’ve nothing towards spectacular photographs, even the pointless ones, which the likes of Monfils, Kyrgios and Paire try at their very own threat.

However, to me, hitting a shot with the racquet deal with is insulting to at least one’s opponent.

Bublik made a idiot of himself. He additionally misplaced the match and, most significantly, the little credibility he had left.

Tennis or hockey?

Picture : La République (Orléans) / Christelle Gaujard

Shoulder hits are frequent when gamers combat for the puck across the internet.

In hockey.

However not in tennis, the place you by no means anticipate to see a shoulder hit just like the one relayed on social media on September 29 after a match on the Open d’Orléans.

It was a neighborhood participant who was booed—one who’s added his title to the inglorious checklist of gamers identified to be temperamental, mercurial, hotheaded or no matter different such adjective you favor.

It was 23-year-old Corentin Moutet.

On the consequence of an almost three-hour match received by Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria (2-6, 7-6[3], 7-6[2]), the rivals’ assembly on the internet was wholly unprecedented, and the pictures made their approach world wide.

Afterwards, Moutet took to Instagram to say he had no intention of apologizing as a result of his gesture was in response to Andreev, who’d mentioned f–okay you to him.

Picture : AFP

Sadly for Moutet, even the French have had it together with his temper swings, that are standing in the best way of higher performances on the courtroom.


Electronic mail: privard@tenniscanada.com

Twitter: @paul6rivard

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