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Andrey Rublev of Russia plays Denis Shapovalov in Winston Salem. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Andrey Rublev of Russia plays Denis Shapovalov in Winston Salem. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)|Associated Press
Tennis

ATP Winston Salem Friday men's quarters: Abrams picks Rublev vs Shapovalov, Tiafoe vs Hurkacz

First match starts at 2:10 pm EDT

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Winston Salem Open

Winston Salem, NC

Friday, August 23, 2019

Men’s Quarters

Andrey Rublev over Denis Shapovalov

I love the way Denis Shapovalov plays, but he has an absolutely severe flaw in his game, and his matches usually come down to whether or not his opponent can exploit his weekness. Shapovalov blasts fantastic groundies from the baseline, and looks great doing it, but when he works his way to the net his volley is no more than mediocre. His wrist is not stiff enough, and his usually dependable footwork is shoddy when he’s at net. That’s not to say that the young Russian is infallible. Rublev has a strange habit of standing in about the same spot around a foot behind the baseline where he just wails on his groundies. They’re very good, they’re very strong, and they’re usually deep, but because he doesn’t change his position on court his point of contact is too varied. He’s susceptible to wild misses because of that, and this match will be who chooses not to lose, not who wins. Either way, it’ll be fun to watch, because both of these guys are terrific young athletes as well as damn good tennis players.

Frances Tiafoe over Hubert Hurkacz

Big Foe has gotten two straight walkovers when both Jeremy Chardy and Filip Krajinovic weren’t able to finish their matches with the American. So Foe should be well rested to take Hubert Hurkacz, although if Hurkacz serves really well he could pull this match out. Even so, Tiafoe is 2-0 against the Pole, and they both want to get momentum for a U.S. Open run.

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