Canadian tennis is in the midst of a Golden Age of sorts. Seasoned campaigners like Milos Raonic still give the fans plenty to cheer, and the newer generation spearheaded by the likes of Bianca Andreescu and Felix Auger Aliassime promises even greater things.
It therefore makes for an enticing match-up when two top-notch players from the country are slated to play in the first round of the Open Sud de France 2020 on Wednesday.
Denis Shapovalov, another one of the poster boys the NextGen, will take on old warhorse and familiar foe in Vasek Pospisil for the second time in three weeks.
In this developing rivalry of sorts, it's Pospisil who is having to do the chasing. He has lost his last two matches to his younger countryman, one as recently as 15 January in Auckland.
The Vernon-native is on a revival route with a string of encouraging performances in the middle of 2019, but has yet to find the win that announces his return to top form.
A win against Shapovalov will do just that, but Pospisil will have to do some things differently to get a win here. He will need to be on the top of not only his serve, but also his return game to have an impact against an emphatic server such as Shapovalov.
Shapovalov is playing some very good tennis, but he is vulnerable to the occasional slip - and that's all his opponents need to turn the match around, as we have seen far too often. If Pospisil can turn the switch at the right moment, he will be well within reach.
He will have to try and be the aggressor in the match, but not just by looking to overpower Shapovalov, but by outsmarting him.
The 20-year-old has shown a knack for unusual play and an affinity for the net, but opponents have had great success by drawing him in against his will. If Pospisil continues to throw different kinds of balls at him, Shapovalov might find it hard to settle into the match - and that's where things begin to unravel quickly.
Prediction: Pospisil to win in three sets.Published 05 Feb 2020, 00:35 IST