Denis Shapovalov is on a fine run of form – can he get just his second main-draw win at the…
Denis Shapovalov is on a fine run of form – can he get just his second main-draw win at the French Open as he faces Gilles Simon on Tuesday?
Denis Shapovalov vs Gilles Simon | French Open R1 | 29/9/2020, 4pm BSTOver 3.5 sets 27/25 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Shapovalov vs Simon is live from Roland Garros on Tuesday 29 September, 5pm local/4pm BST
With an 8-2 record in his last two tournaments, Denis Shapovalov comes into the French Open seeded ninth and looking promising for his strongest Roland Garros result so far – although that’s not saying much given that he’s only won one main-draw match there in the past.
However, he’s up against a wily and extremely experienced opponent in Gilles Simon, even if the veteran hasn’t beaten a player ranked inside the top 100 since shutdown.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Shapovalov vs Simon live
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Shapovalov vs Simon: Head-to-head
Denis Shapovalov and Gilles Simon have only played once before – Simon retired at 2-2.
Shapovalov vs Simon: Preview
With the exception of wins over two top-10 players, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, at the ATP Cup, Denis Shapovalov’s start to 2020 was not inspiring, especially a first-round defeat to Marton Fucsovics at the US Open.
But the 21-year-old Canadian has come back from the six-month shutdown a changed man. He was beaten in the third round of the ‘Cincinnati’ Masters by Jan-Lennard Struff, but made his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open, beating Taylor Fritz and David Goffin before losing to Pablo Carreno Busta in five sets. Then he brought that form to the Rome Masters, beating Guido Pella and Grigor Dimitrov among others to reach the semifinals where he lost a very tight match to Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4).
Shapovalov has only won one match before at the French Open, and has a somewhat average 35-25 career record on clay, but he had also made the semifinals in Madrid last year and the way he played in Rome showed how effective his game can be on this surface under the tutelage of Mikhail Youzhny.
Which is not to say that Gilles Simon isn’t an extremely tough opponent. Now 35 and ranked world no. 54, the former world no. 6 is definitely on the downslope of his career and has a 21-14 record at Roland Garros, where his best results came in reaching the last 16 in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Runner-up at Queen’s Club last summer, Simon beat Daniil Medvedev to make the semifinals of Marseille in February, but since shutdown he has not had much success: He is 3-6, with his only victories coming to players ranked outside the top 100 and, in the case of Mats Rosenkranz of Germany in Hamburg qualifying, the top 600.
Simon hasn’t lost in the first round of a Grand Slam since the 2017 US Open, and the Frenchman is an incredibly gifted retriever and counterpuncher who excels at absorbing and redirecting pace. On these courts, which can make it difficult to hit through any opponent, it will be a big test for Shapovalov to stay disciplined, adapt his game plan if necessary and keep from being dragged in to one of Simon’s favoured lengthy dogfights.