Fixture: (7) Denis Shapovalov vs (10) Felix Auger-Aliassime
Date: 22 April 2021
Tournament: Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Barcelona, Spain
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,565,480
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Denis Shapovalov vs Felix Auger-Aliassime preview
Canadian youngsters Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Alisassime will square off against each other in the third round of the 2021 Barcelona Open on Thursday.
Shapovalov ousted Jeremy Chardy with ease in his second-round match on Tuesday. Auger-Alisassime, meanwhile, outlasted Lorenzo Musetti on Wednesday, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.
The hard-fought win was Auger-Aliassime's first under Toni Nadal's stewardship. It was also his first victory on clay in 2021; the 20-year-old had lost his tournament opener against Cristian Garin at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.
Although Auger-Aliassime didn't start well against Musetti, he fought back impressively to take the match to a decider. The Canadian was then helped by an injury to Musetti; the Italian youngster required treatment for a back issue in the third set, and didn't move too well towards the end.
Denis Shapovalov, on the other hand, was playing his first claycourt match of the season against Jeremy Chardy. However, he showed almost no signs of rust.
The 22-year-old has made a couple of changes to his game ahead of this year's clay season. He is now standing well behind the baseline to receive serve and being a lot more measured with his groundstrokes, the effect of which was evident on Tuesday.
Denis Shapovalov vs Felix Auger-Aliassime head-to-head
Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime have faced each other four times on tour, and their head-to-head record is currently tied at 2-2. Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime have once on clay (Madrid 2019), with the latter winning 6-2, 7-6 (7).
Denis Shapovalov vs Felix Auger-Aliassime prediction
Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Denis Shapovalov in straight sets at the Australian Open this year, but the younger Canadian is unlikely to find the going as easy on clay.
Shapovalov has been steadily improving on the slower surface over the last couple of years. He now looks more determined than ever to make a mark for himself in the relatively unfamiliar part of the season.
He and Auger-Aliassime are both likely to go for their shots despite the slowness of the surface. And that could also mean a high unforced error count for the match.
Auger-Aliassime is yet to find his groove on clay, as evidenced by his scratchy performances against Garin and Musetti. All things considered, Shapovalov might be the favorite to win the fifth encounter between the duo.
Prediction: Denis Shapovalov to win in three sets.