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Eastbourne 2018 preview: 4 players ready to make an impression

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989   //    17 Jun 2018, 13:10 IST

With the grass court season underway, it is a good time to look ahead to Eastbourne. Between the 25th and 30th, June players will be competing in the southeast of England, in preparation for Wimbledon. This tournament, in particular, will provide an accurate indication as to how well each player has adjusted to the grass from the clay. Past Eastbourne champions include Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick and Jonas Bjorkman, highlighting the importance of good preparation before a Grand Slam.

This year's line-up is also star-studded, with the likes of Kyle Edmund, Denis Shapovalov, Diego Schwartzman and David Ferrer all taking part. It will be interesting to see how Kyle Edmund copes with the pressure of being British No.1, heading into the grass court season. This could perhaps be the time for Denis Shapovalov to end his wait for an ATP title as he looks to build on his victory at the All England Club as a junior two years ago. Eastbourne could be Diego Schwartzman's time to put his grass-court woes behind him and make it far in the competition. This tournament also includes grass-court specialists like Gilles Muller and Feliciano Lopez, whose strengths suit the grass of Eastbourne and Wimbledon.

Will Eastbourne be Shapovalov's first taste of victory on the ATP tour?

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Denis Shapovalov at Queen's 2017

The 19 -year- old Canadian is certainly one to watch out for, as he continues to make his mark on the ATP Tour. Shapovalov's all-court game and powerful groundstrokes, make him a threat on all surfaces. Many pundits have praised his shot-making ability, with the teenager capable of creating amazing angles and hitting wonderful trick shots. The youngster is not fearful of reputations, with the world No.23 scoring wins against Juan Martin Del Potro, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal. In fact, Shapovalov’s aggressive and exuberant style has drawn comparisons with how Nadal played in his younger days.

The grass is a surface that the Canadian No.1 likes. His victory at the 2016 Wimbledon Boys’ Championships, proves he is certainly comfortable on this surface, with his serve allowing him to take control of the point from the start of the rally. Shapovalov’s offensive mentality is shown by his ability to flatten his groundstrokes and his willingness to come to the net, all of which are encouraging signs for the future. Another strength is his composure under pressure, with the match against Rogerio Dutra Silva at the 2017 Canadian Open a clear example of this. He saved four match points on his way to a three-set victory, with the second match point saved through an outstanding drop-volley. In his junior Wimbledon win against Alex de Minaur, he secured victory after being a set down.

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