I think it is fair to start off with the fact that no one was expecting Denis Shapovalov to defeat Novak Djokovic in Shanghai with a 1-11 top ten win record since the beginning of last year but was that performance worrying?
In a word, yes.
6-3 6-3 to Djokovic, score-lines can be deceiving but this wasn’t a contest and the theme was set early with erratic hitting.
From the opening 6 games or so I picked up some ground strokes which were as I said, erratic.
Blue is backhand and red is forehand, yellow is where the ball bounced.
I asked this question before and I will revisit it, does being ambidextrous help or hinder him?
When he first burst onto the scene we were excited about it and rightly so, we hadn’t really seen it before and he took Nadal apart in front of a home crowd.
Since then it’s been ok, it’s not set the world alight and I don’t think it will yet.
Denis is down at 34 from a career high of 20, he has a top 10 record of 1-11 since start of last year and hasn’t found momentum winning 26 of 50 matches this year.
I like both of his shots but in the right place at the right time. Some of those backhands against Djokovic were messy. It had the kid in the sweet shop effect to it. Over excited but with no reward.
What is the game plan? I couldn’t tell you and that’s a worry.
He gave us a great performance against Auger-Aliassime in New York and Tsitsipas earlier on this year but it just happens and the numbers against Novak did no favours.
I say look past the scoreline and it is troubling;
- Djokovic lost 1 point on serve in the first set
- Shapovalov hit 14 unforced errors in set one and 13 in set two
- 27 unforced errors in 18 games (1.5 a game)
- Djokovic won 27/59 points on Shapovalov’s serve (46%)
- Shapovalov won 8/47 points on Djokovic’s serve (17%)
That last one worries me. 8/47.
Djokovic played well, that is no secret but the wheels didn’t just come off in return games I don’t think were even on.
The plan has to be to find some basics and a base to build on instead of hit and hope.
Maybe I am being a little harsh?
I like what Denis can bring to the court on his tennis it’s like firework night but I think there is too much confusing in his game and when to play shots right now.
There is a lot of work to do. He is only 20, lets not get too carried away.
Against the top 20 he has a win/loss record of 7 wins and 17 defeats since the start of 2018