Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov ATP Madrid tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Zverev faces stern Shapovalov challenge in Madrid

Leye Aduloju in ATP 12 May 2018
  • Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov is live from Madrid on Saturday, 12 May from 9:00pm local time/ 8:00pm BST
  • Zverev won their only previous meeting in Montreal last season
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Alexander Zverev. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

Alexander Zverev contests his third straight Masters 1000 semi-final on Saturday when he takes on Canadian young gun, Denis Shapovalov at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov ATP Mutua Madrid Open tennis is live from Madrid on Saturday, 12 May from 9:00pm local time/ 8:00pm BST  
Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Zverev’s progress through the Madrid draw has been so uncomplicated that it has almost gone unnoticed, but he has sauntered into the business end of the tournament; and is now a great shout for tournament favourite following the exit of Rafael Nadal. After all, he is the highest ranked player left in the draw. Zverev is on a seven-match winning streak, having successfully defended his Munich title before heading to Madrid. That also has almost flown almost under the radar. Well, he has got to the stage of the tournament where everyone should take note, as he targets his third final of the season when he plays the brilliant Shapovalov on Saturday.

It wasn’t long ago that the German was stuck in his sophomore slump, when he struggled to back up his achievements from the previous season. Those achievements include a couple of Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal, an ATP 500 crown in Washington, two 250 titles in Montpellier and Munich, and a semi-final finish at the Nitto ATP Finals in London on debut.

The 21-year-old opened the new season with a third-round loss to Hyeon Chung at the Australian Open, then fell to Andreas Seppi in the second round in Rotterdam. Despite reaching the semi-finals in Acapulco, he still did not look convicning, and was sliced out of the tournament by Juan Martin del Potro. His woes were compounded by a head-scratching opening round loss to Joao Sousa at Indian Wells, where he threw away a 4-1 lead in the final set.

However, Zverev finally found his groove in Miami, beating Nick Kyrgios and a red-hot Borna Coric en route the final, where he fell to John Isner in three sets. He brought form onto the clay, reaching the semis in Monte Carlo, winning Munich, and now advancing to the last four in Madrid for the first time in his career. His previous best in the Spanish capital was last year’s quarter final run, which featured victories over Fernando Verdasco, Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych.

His 2018 route has not been that difficult- he had a first round bye, took out qualifier, Evgeny Donskoy in the second round, eased past Leonardo Mayer in the third, before outclassing John Isner in the quarter finals.

In a rematch of the Miami Open final, which Isner won, Zverev got his revenge with plenty to spare. He was solid from the back of the court, untouchable on serve, and always sniffing around his opponent’s deliveries. Zverev did not face a single break point against Isner, but the most remarkable of stat of all has got to be his 100% conversion rate on second serves, winning 16 out of 16 points on his second offerings. The German had break points in four of Isner’s five service games in the opening set, converting one in the seventh game to effectively take the set, and while Isner didn’t offer as much opportunities in the second set, Zverev forced the issue late on and got his break for 6-5, before comfortably closing out the 6-4 7-5 victory.

Things are bound to get more difficult on Saturday when he plays the explosive Shapovalov, who has powered into his second Masters 1000 semi-final. 


It was at this level, specifically in Montreal last season that qualifier, Shapovalov scored his ATP breakthrough, beating Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal en route the semis, where he was eventually stopped by eventual champion, Zverev.

Denis Shapovalov. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
Shapovalov backed that up with a fourth-round run at the US Open, and while he didn’t do much for the rest of the year, he had shown enough in that little passage that he belonged at this level, and it was just a matter of time before he started challenging on a more consistent basis. 

Shapovalov had been a mixed bag in the opening quarter of the season, reaching the semi-finals at Delray Beach, and the fourth round in Miami, but doing next to nothing elsewhere- including second round losses at the Australian Open and Indian Wells. Shapovalov arrived Madrid without a tour-level clay court win to his name having failed to win a match in Monte Carlo and Budapest in the weeks leading up to Budapest, but he has operated like a clay-court veteran in the Spanish capital, taking out Tennys Sandgren, Benoit Paire, Milos Raonic and Kyle Edmund to reach the semis in his tournament debut. The 6-4 6-4 third-round victory against Raonic deserves special mention, as he completely dismantled his big-serving compatriot.

Armed with a good serve, bullet leftie forehand, a powerful single-handed backhand and great athleticism, the Canadian teen is a house of weapons, and he has been unleashing the full arsenal in Madrid this week.

He dropped serve in the opening game of his quarter final against Edmund, but recovered the break for 2-2, before stealing a late break in the twelfth game to bag the opener. He missed a match point in a controversial ending to the second set, with Edmund demanding that a point at 5-5 30-30 be replayed after a spectator yelled loudly midway through Shapovalov’s service motion. Edmund stopped play, and asked for a let, but the umpire declined his call, to the chagrin of the British No. 1, who was equally unhappy with Shapovalov for not opting to replay the point. 

Shapovalov closed out that game; and had a match point on Edmund’s serve in the next game, but the seething Brit showed admirable poise to fend off that match point, before taking a tight tie break to force a final set.

Shapovalov took early control of the final set by breaking in the third game, and he controlled the match from there, offering no break points before closing a 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-4 victory to love with a swinging ace out wide.

"We have a really, really similar game-styles. We both go big on the serves. We both love to dictate with the forehands. It's tricky to play Kyle. When he's on, I'm not seeing the ball at all," Shapovalov said. "I feel like every time we play, we have a thriller match. It's fun to be on the court with him."

"I'm happy again to be in the semi-finals… I never knew when my next time being in a semi would be. I'm more than thrilled to be there. Hopefully I can go even further."

By virtue of this result, Shapovalov is projected to break into the top 30, and if beats Zverev and makes the Madrid final, he could climb as high as No. 22 in the world, usurping Milos Raonic as Canada’s No. 1 player. The 19-year-old lost 6-4 7-5 to Zverev in their only previous meeting in Montreal last year, but he is playing well enough, and has got the ability in my opinion to reverse the outcome of that Montreal encounter when they meet again on Saturday. It’s an intriguing contest, with Shapovalov’s favourite crosscourt forehand crashing into Zverev’s big strength, the backhand, and vice versa. Shapovalov has shown through this tournament that he is not afraid to change direction and go down the line off either wing, and that could be crucial in the outcome of this one.

I don’t think there will be much in this contest- Zverev is probably the steadier of the two, that comes with experience, but the more exuberant Shapovalov has got that little bit more weaponry, and if he can harness it, much like Dominic Thiem did against Nadal in the quarter finals, he’s in with an excellent shot at making a Masters 1000 final.

Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov is live from Madrid on Saturday, 12 May from 9:00pm local time/ 8:00pm BST
Watch and bet on the match live at bet365 > live streaming > Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)


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Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov ATP Madrid tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Zverev faces stern Shapovalov challenge in Madrid

Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov meet in a cracking semi-final in Madrid on Saturday. Can Zverev survive against the Canadian young gun? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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