Shapovalov Defeats Cilic In First Live ATP Match

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Western & Southern Open, NY

[16] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs. [37] Marin Cilic (CRO)

Yes folks, Cincy Tennis is not being played in Cincinnati this year due to the covid-19 pandemic. This year the Western and Southern Open is being hosted at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY.

Tennis As Never Before

There were no FANS! It was a whole new experience for the players.  Their coaching entourage was allowed, but that was it. Players had to produce their own source of motivational energy as there was no energy from the crowd to spur them on. Shapovalov feeds on the energy of the crowd; however, the lack of fans did not stop him from playing brilliant and focused tennis.

Shapovalov Played Confident Tennis

 First round saw Cilic pitted against the twenty-one-year-old Canadian, Shapovalov.  While experience favored the Croat, confidence was on the side of the young Canadian.  Cilic had his chance to take the lead in the first set but failed to take advantage.  That was not the case with the Canadian, who immediately capitalized on his only opportunity. One break was all the Canadian needed and he served out the first set with an ace to take the 6-3 lead.

Cilic Had No Answer For Shapo

The fight was still there, but the game was not, as Shapovalov grew in confidence after securing the first set. With the lead, the Canadian relaxed into his game and started utilizing his backhand down the line to make life difficult for the Croatian. He broke early in the second set; yet it was not smooth sailing. The Canadian fought through a scrappy sixth game to stay ahead of Cilic 4-2 in the second set.

Cilic Had Moments Of Brilliance

Cilic still has game; however, he was too inconsistent against the shot making from the Canadian.  Periods of tentative play also contributed to the loss for Cilic.  At 3-5 and 0-30 down, Cilic’s back was against the wall. Shapovalov made a sweet return on his second opportunity to close out the match and broke the Croat again to seal the 6-3, 6-3 victory.

SOURCE OF MAIN IMAGE: (Denis Shapovalov -Getty Images AsiaPac)

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