ATP Cup 2020: Alex de Minaur vs Denis Shapovalov, match preview and prediction
Big surprises headlined the opening day of the 2020 ATP Cup, and at the centre of it all were two 20-year-olds - Australia's Alex de Minaur and Canada's Denis Shapovalov.
In doing so, the duo not only contributed valuable points to strengthen the position of their respective sides in the competitive group, but also made their intentions clear very early in the season.
While the two had a great season in 2019, a major breakthrough eluded them on the big stage. But their top-notch act in their opening matches of 2020 have set them up for bigger things from here on out.
But first, they will have to try and get the better of each other when Australia and Canada step out tomorrow for the next rubber. Interestingly however, the duo had locked horns just about a month ago at the Davis Cup World Group semifinal, where De Minaur beat Shapovalov in three sets.
And that's not it. De Minaur and Shapovalov also played a Wimbledon junior's final in 2016, which the Canadian won for his first Major junior crown.
That was his first big win that later catapulted him to wider attention on the senior tour. It was much the same for De Minaur, who has begun giving more consistent performances at the senior level.
With the two youngsters already forming am intriguing rivalry of sorts, one can only expect big things from their matches to come. And the match tomorrow might well be a precursor to that.
They have both already showcased incredible skills in the only match that they have played this year. Where Shapovalov was incredibly potent from the baseline, De Minaur was better at the net and showed some unbelievable anticipation skills.
Their match has all the makings of a classic that sends waves across the ATP tour. It's almost too close to call, but the match could well slip out of Shapovalov's hands if he fails to maintain his baseline consistency. De Minaur on his part will try and use every bit of home advantage that he can muster out of an electric crowd at the Queensland Tennis Centre.
Prediction: De Minaur to win in three sets.