Expected Points, May 24: Denis Shapovalov Serves Big On Clay


Anticipated Factors, my new brief, day by day podcast, highlights three numbers for instance stats, tendencies, and attention-grabbing trivia across the sport.

Up at this time: Shapo falls in need of the Geneva title regardless of some excellent first-strike tennis, Ana Konjuh takes an unlikely step in her comeback, and it was a giant weekend for the Shelton household on the NCAA championships.

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Music: Love is the Chase by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2021. Licensed underneath a Inventive Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. Ft: Apoxode

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Tough transcript of at this time’s episode:

The primary quantity is 35%, the fraction of Denis Shapovalov’s serves—first and second—that didn’t come again in Saturday’s Geneva closing in opposition to Casper Ruud. Apart from 5 double faults, Shapo’s pure serving efficiency was excellent for a clay courtroom, as he received one other 18% of his serve factors together with his second shot. Alas, every thing else went the best way of the Norwegian, with Ruud successful 62% of factors 4 strokes or longer and greater than holding his personal on serve, not permitting the Canadian a single break level. It’s powerful to say whether or not Shapovalov is really adapting to the clay—he couldn’t outslug Ruud from the baseline, and he misplaced 8 of his 12 internet approaches. But the outcomes counsel he’s getting there: This week was his first closing on the floor, and it included wins over extra conventional dirtballers Marco Cecchinato, Laslo Djere, and Pablo Cuevas. Sadly, the momentum will go to waste: Shapovalov withdrew from the French Open yesterday, resting an ailing shoulder and saving his bullets for friendlier surfaces.

Our second quantity is 79%, the speed at which Ana Konjuh has received clay-court matches because the restart. The 23-year-old Croatian has at all times most popular quick courts, coming into the spring with simply 22 clay contests out of 133 tour-level matches. But current outcomes might encourage her to shift her priorities. She kicked off her comeback final September with a title on clay at an ITF $25K in Zagreb, reached a quarter-final in Istanbul final month, and set a brand new career-best on the floor by qualifying and reaching the ultimate in Belgrade final week. All informed, it’s 15 wins in opposition to solely 4 losses. Her triumphant week in Belgrade ended with a whimper, as she retired down a set and a break to Paula Badosa within the closing. However having gone almost 3 years and not using a tour-level win attributable to damage earlier than March, her takeaways from Serbia are overwhelmingly optimistic. She knocked out two top-50 gamers in Yulia Putintseva and Nadia Podoroska, and maybe most essential, her physique held up via six wins in eight days, a problem enhanced by rain delays all through the week. The resilient Croatian might by no means develop into a drive on filth, but when the shock clay-court exhibiting is any indication, she may ultimately regain a spot within the high 20.

As we speak’s third and closing quantity is 33 years, the span of time since Bryan Shelton was named an All-American for his tennis efficiency at Georgia Tech. After knowledgeable profession that included two Newport titles and a fourth-round end result at Wimbledon in 1994, Shelton coached the ladies’s crew at his alma mater, main the Yellow Jackets to a nationwide title in 2007. He’s now the top coach of the boys’s squad on the College of Florida, which received the NCAA crew championship on Saturday. Clinching the title for the Gators over the Baylor Bears was freshman Ben Shelton, Bryan’s son, taking part in #5 singles. The elder Shelton was a rarity within the Nineteen Nineties, a tour-level participant with a university diploma. Whereas diplomas stay uncommon in at this time’s ATP, gamers with collegiate expertise abound. Concurrent with the American crew occasion, two NCAA merchandise—Cam Norrie of Britain and Arthur Rinderknech of France—battled for a semi-final spot in Lyon, and Norrie finally reached his second clay-court closing of the season. The hole between #5 singles in Gainesville and top-50 on the earth is big, however Ben Shelton has at the very least one benefit: a superb coach.


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