By Jake Davies
- Kyle Edmund, the British No.2, starts his season against Denis Shapovalov
- After ending the season in disappointment, Edmund will want a reaction to start his 2018 in the right manner.
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Kyle Edmund finds himself back in the British No. 2 spot and faces Denis Shapovalov in what is shaping up to be a decent rivalry between the pair.
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Kyle Edmund vs Denis Shapovalov H2H | Shapovalov leads 2-1
Kyle Edmund will start his preparation for the upcoming Australian Open in Brisbane and faces an opponent that he’s learned a lot about in a short space of time – Denis Shapovalov. This really could be a rivalry we see many times over the course of both of their careers as they have already played on three separate occasions, which is surprising when you realise that Shapovalov has only really been on the main tour for some parts of the 2017 season.
The three previous meetings haven’t lacked talking points. In their first match in the Davis Cup World Group, Shapovalov was defaulted for firing a tennis ball that struck the umpire Arnaud Gabas. That was a moment that could really have affected the next few months of the Canadian’s progress up the rankings, but he moved on swiftly and now is a Top 60 player at just 18 years old.
Edmund has consolidated his position as a regular on the ATP tour, which is fundamental in his development. The Brit’s movement up the rankings hasn’t been as quick as Shapovalov, but Edmund really has been trying to make steady steps in the right direction, but there is no doubt that he will want more and will expect a lot from himself.
The match will provide a true indication as to where Edmund is at from a physical standpoint. He has struggled in the past with the brutal conditions in Australia, so that is something to look out for in this first round match.
I do believe Shapovalov will drive to victory here. Both will be desperate to take control of the majority of the points off their forehand side, but I think that Shapovalov is less suspect on his one-handed backhand and is capable of finishing points even on his weaker wing. Edmund’s backhand is still by far his weakest shot and the better players put pressure on that side with regularity.
Prediction: Shapovalov in three sets
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