By Michael Stafford-Jones
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  faces a difficult challenge against teen sensation Denis Shapovalov
- Alexander Zverev  takes on fellow rising star Borna Coric
- Mischa Zverev  is set for an intriguing encounter against mercurial Benoit Paire
NEW YORK, USA – Feast your eyes on these three terrific Second Round ATP clashes set to light up Day 3 of US Open 2017.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  v Denis Shapovalov H2H: First meeting
Both Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Denis Shapovalov play swashbuckling, attacking tennis, so this match has the potential to be a classic. The Canadian has overcome the controversy that followed last year’s Davis Cup disqualification for hitting a ball at the umpire by showing glimpses of his talent at Queen’s and then delighting home crowds at the Rogers Cup by beating Rafael Nadal en route to the semi-finals.
Tsonga has had a very mixed year: he won an ATP500 title in Rotterdam and 250s in Marseille and Lyon, but has been disappointing at most other tournaments. The Frenchman may need to produce some of his best tennis to beat the in-form Shapovalov, but a night match in front of a big crowd on Arthur Ashe could be exactly what he needs to inspire him.
Prediction: Tsonga in four sets
Alexander Zverev  v Borna Coric H2H: Coric leads 1-0
Alexander Zverev, 20, is the rising star who is currently most likely to break the dominance of the Big Four, and he could not wish for a better opportunity than this year’s US Open with Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic all out injured. He won one US Open Series title in Washington, and then bettered it by beating Roger Federer in the Rogers Cup final to secure a second in succession.
His opponent Borna Coric, also 20, is another member of the so-called ‘NextGen’ but, unlike Zverev, he has yet to win any significant titles and has a long way to go to reach his potential. The Croatian is fast around the court and can defend well, but does not possess the kind of weapons he needs to throw the German off his rhythm, and may struggle to make much of an impression.
Prediction: A Zverev in straight sets
Mischa Zverev  v Benoit Paire H2H: First meeting
The older Mischa Zverev, 30, first made it into the world’s top 50 when he was 22, before a succession of nasty injuries forced him to temporarily quit the game. After returning, he began a remarkable rise up the rankings and eventually surpassed his previous career-high ranking when he achieved the best victory of his career against Murray at the 2017 Australian Open.
His opponent Benoit Paire has all the shots in his armoury, but often struggles to produce them consistently or pick the right ones at the right moments. Consequently, he has spent a lot of time (most of the last five seasons) in the world’s top 50 without ever truly making the next step up from there. However, the Frenchman’s best Grand Slam performance came at the 2015 US Open and that experience could prove invaluable when he faces the tricky Zverev.
Prediction: Paire in four sets.
Play begins on US Open Day Three at 11am (4pm BST).
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