Denis Shapovalov attempts to snap a three-match losing streak when he takes on Grigor Dimitrov in his Rotterdam opener on Monday.
Shapovalov vs Dimitrov is live from Rotterdam on Monday, 10 February from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT
Dimitrov is also looking to end a winless run, as the Bulgarian has lost his last two matches- to Tommy Paul in the second round of the Australian Open, and Gregoire Barrere in last week’s Montpellier opener.
Shapovalov and Dimitrov have had very identical seasons. They both started with great optimism after encouraging ends to 2019; they had decent ATP Cup campaigns, but have not kicked on from there.
Shapovalov ended 2019 on a very positive note, winning his maiden career title in Stockholm and reaching his first Masters 1000 final in Paris (lost to Novak Djokovic). He was 2-2 in singles matches at the ATP Cup, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev before losing to Alex De Minaur and Novak Djokovic.
He proceeded to defeat countryman, Vasek Pospisil in his opening match in Auckland, but he has not won a match since then. The Canadian fell to Ugo Humbert in the Auckland quarter finals, before suffering successive opening round losses at the Australian Open and Montpellier to Marton Fucsovics and Pospisil respectively.
Shapovalov is competing in Rotterdam for the second consecutive season, having made the last eight on debut last year. Given his current run of results, he surely wouldn’t mind a similar run this year, and he starts off against Dimitrov on Monday.
Like Shapovalov, Dimitrov did OK at the ATP Cup, winning two of his three singles matches, but he hasn’t got a stuck after that.
Having struggled for most of last year- the Bulgarian was ranked outside the top-70 at the start of last year’s US Open- the former world No. 3 compiled a promising finishing to the season, reaching semi-finals at Flushing Meadows and at the Masters 1000 event in Paris. The 28-year-old ended 2019 at 20th in the world, but he has not made much progress in 2020.
Following his ATP Cup campaign, he headed for the Australian Open, where he scored a four-set win over Juan Ignacio Londero before suffering a surprising five-set loss to American, Tommy Paul. That was followed by an opening round exit in Montpellier, where he was edged out 6-7 6-4 7-5 by unheralded Frenchman, Gregoire Barrere.
Dimitrov made the Rotterdam final in his most recent visit in 2018, beating Yuichi Sugita, Filip Krajinovic, Andrey Rublev and David Goffin before falling to Roger Federer in the final. He missed last year’s edition due to a shoulder problem.
Will it be a winning return for the Bulgarian when he faces Shapovalov on Monday?
Dimitrov defeated Shapovalov in their only previous meeting back in Toronto in 2016, but a lot has changed since then. Both players are a lot better than their recent run of results suggests, and they can both do with a confidence-boosting win on Monday. should be a very entertaining contest between two of the finest shot-makers on the tour. Given the abilities of both men, and their tendencies to ebb and flow within matches, this looks like one that could well go the distance.