Fixture: (4) Denis Shapovalov vs Vasek Pospisil
Date: 10 March 2021
Tournament: Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021
Round: Second Round (Round of 16)
Venue: Doha, Qatar
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $787,930
Match timing: Approx 4 pm local time, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Denis Shapovalov vs Vasek Pospisil preview
Fourth seed Denis Shapovalov comes up against compatriot Vasek Pospisil in the second round of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Wednesday.
Shapovalov has seemingly brought his indifferent form from the latter stages of 2020 into the new season too. The Canadian lost both of his matches at the ATP Cup, although he did push Alexander Zverev to three sets in the tie against Germany.
Shapovalov started his Australian Open campaign in spectacular fashion, defeating Jannik Sinner in the first round. However, he lost tamely to fellow Canadian Felix-Auger Aliassime in the third round.
The 21-year-old will now be looking to mount a realistic title challenge in Doha as the fourth seed. But standing in his way first up is his Davis Cup teammate and familiar opponent Vasek Pospisil.
Pospisil is one of the more experienced players around, having been a mainstay on the ATP tour for nearly 13 years now. The has been in the news more for off-court reasons lately - he formed the PTPA in association with Novak Djokovic last August - but he did also reach the final at Montpellier and Sofia in 2020.
Pospisil got his 2021 season off to a rocky start, with a straight-sets defeat to Daniil Medvedev in the first round of the Australian Open. But in the Doha first round he managed to defeat Christopher O'Connell 6-3, 6-4, thus setting up the second-round meeting with Shapovalov.
Denis Shapovalov vs Vasek Pospisil head-to-head
The second-round encounter in Doha is the third professional meeting between Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil, and their head-to-head currently stands at 1-1.
Their two showdowns on the tour came within a month of each other, in the early part of last season. While Shapovalov defeated his compatriot in straight sets in their first meeting at Auckland, Pospisil got the better of the World No. 11 at Montpellier - again in straight sets.
Denis Shapovalov vs Vasek Pospisil prediction
Denis Shapovalov has superior form and ranking on his side coming into the clash against Vasek Pospisil, and so is the overwhelming favorite on paper.
Shapovalov's hard-hitting playing style usually sees a lot of success on quick hard courts. His lefty serve and one-handed backhand are particularly strong weapons, which can blow away any opponent on this surface.
To cause an upset, Pospisil will have to be at his attacking best. He needs to take the game to Shapovalov by serving big and mixing things up with good net play and variation in his groundstrokes.
Still, given the fact that he is coming in with better form and greater match sharpness, Shapovalov might have an edge in this encounter.
Prediction: Denis Shapovalov to win in three sets.