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Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, reacts after winning a point in the second set against Hubert Hurkacz, of Poland, during the semifinals of the Winston-Salem Open tennis tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Hurkacz won 6-3, 6-4. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, reacts after winning a point in the second set against Hubert Hurkacz, of Poland, during the semifinals of the Winston-Salem Open tennis tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Hurkacz won 6-3, 6-4. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)|Associated Press
Tennis

U.S. Open Thursday men's 2nd round Part 3: Abrams picks Shapovalov vs Laaksonen, Goffin vs Barrere, Zverev vs Tiafoe, Cilic vs Stebe

The first Thursday match in this grouping starts at 11 am EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Denis Shapovalov over Henri Laaksonen

Denis Shapovalov just destroyed his buddy FA2 in three straight not-even-close sets. Last week he was pounding his groundies, but seemed tentative with his volleys. If he learns to stick ‘em, we’ll be seeing the young Canuck in the quarters and beyond of some pretty big tournaments. Laaksonen got by Marco Cecchinato by winning three tiebreakers. He won’t do that against Shapovalov.

David Goffin over Gregoirre Barrere

Boy the French sure have a lot of players. Gregoirre Barrere is a 25-year-old who lives in Boulogne Billancourt, France, and is ranked #109. He beat Brit Cam Norrie in five sets, 7-6 in the fifth after winning two other tiebreakers. Goffin took out yet another rising French star, 20-year-old Corentin Moutet in four, and should have little trouble with Barrere. Goffin, a Belgian, seems to enjoy beating others from the Continent.

Sascha Zverev over Frances Tiafoe

Last week Big Foe got two straight retirements, and he got another here in the first round when Dr. Ivo couldn’t bring his 40-year-old body to go the distance. But Sascha Zverev is another test entirely. We’re all waiting for the German to break out of his rut and make a run for a Grand Slam title, and maybe this is the event in which he’ll take off his Clark Kent glasses and put on his Superman shirt. Well, he’s got Rafa waiting for him in the quarters, so maybe not.

Marin Cilic over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe

Cilic has fallen to #23 in the world, and he’s not the player he once was. But he still has a winning record for 2019, and Stebe is only 5-7 this year, counting his first round win over Filip Krajinovic. Unless Cilic is injured and can’t complete this match, I like the former U.S. Open champion to find enough form to roll.

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