Sascha Zverev came into this year’s AO as one of the two players I tipped to win it along with Medvedev. Denis Shapovalov is having a time of his life in Australia leading Canada along with Felix Auger Aliassime to the ATP CUP. Early loss of serve from Sascha in set one. That left one handed backhand causing all the trouble for the German. That break was enough to give Denis the set win 6-3. The best set in terms of entertainment and quality tennis was the third set. Sascha made to pay for terrible unforced errors at the worst possible time. Check out second set first point adv Shapovalov. Zverev’s rally is going swimmingly then boom net ripples. Zverev to his credit realized this set is do or die and got back in it. Watch 2-1 adv Zverev.
The key was the sudden variation in approach, charging to the net. From 2-1 ,the German won 4 of the next five games to try to serve out the second set 5-3. During the interim, Zverev’s serve improved, his height no doubt a big advantage. It was Shapovalov’s turn to get back. Watch the level of concentration at 5-3(15-40). He shows us the best way to hit a forehand volley under pressure.Racquet above net level , eyes on the ball and angled. Set going down to the tie breaker. It was back to unforced error city for Zverev again. He was down a mini break from the first point hitting a routine forehand long. Before you know it, it was 4-2 Shapovalov with no easy back for Sascha. A late surge in the breaker wasn’t enough for the German.
Look I don’t know if it’s the racquet he was using, fatigue or something, Zverev wasn’t hitting the ball as well as we know him to. It was just safe shot after safe shot then error from him or the winner or passing shot from Denis. He went down a break early in the third at 1-0(30-40). Most matches at the AO take the same pattern for the winners of a set, get the break in the first 3 games of it. With the high temperatures in Melbourne it is best advised to get on front foot early. From there the Denis serve was largely untroubled on his way to the biggest win of his career , in straight sets no less.