WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Wimbledon tips for Denis Shapovalov’s first Grand Slam semi-final…and Novak Djokovic’s 41st.
00:30 (AEST), Sat 10th Jul @ All England Club, Wimbledon
History: Played 6: Djokovic 6 V Shapovalov 0
Last meeting: ATP Cup, 2021: Djokovic d Shapovalov 7-5 7-5
Final Thoughts: Tenth seed Denis Shapovalov is in uncharted territory, qualifying for a maiden Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon. But the toughest assignment in tennis is standing in the way of the 22-year-old’s dream of reaching the final.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic is chasing his sixth Wimbledon title – and a Federer- and Nadal-equalling 20th Slam overall. He won the previous two Wimbledons in 2018-19, while he is the current Australian and French Open champ.
Perhaps most ominously for Shapovalov, Djokovic has won 14 of his past 15 Grand Slam semi-finals.
Shapovalov has overcome a couple of tough challenges in this tournament. Veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber took him to five sets in the first round, before Pablo Andujar pulled out of their second-round clash.
The Canadian made short work of Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut, before coming from a set down to outlast Karen Khachanov in five. Shapovalov blasted 17 aces past Khachanov and has proved tough to break throughout the tournament.
After dropping the first set in his first round encounter with Jack Draper, Djokovic has not been troubled. He dismantled 2018 Wimbledon final opponent Kevin Anderson, Denis Kudla, 17th seed Cristian Garin and Marton Fucsovics in straight sets.
Djokovic has won all six previous encounters with Shapovalov, most recent at the past two ATP Cups. Their only Grand Slam meeting was their first overall, with Djokovic win a four-setter in the third round of the 2019 Australian Open.
Shapovalov harbours more weapons than any of the players Djokovic has faced so far. But the $1.08 favourite is just so dominant at present. With the achievement of becoming the first player to win all four Slams in a calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969 very much in reach, I can’t see Djokovic stumbling.