Little Things Adding Up For Shapovalov In 2018
Denis Shapovalov is one of the hottest players on tour right now and is poised to possibly break into the Top 25 in the ATP Rankings next week after starting the year ranked No. 51. He is 17-12 this season, and has won six of eight matches the past two weeks at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome.
He is on a red-hot tear… and has only won 30 points more than he has lost in 2018.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of success in our sport uncovers that the margins that winning are built on are razor thin. Shapovalov, 19 years old, has played 4,204 points in 2018, winning 2,117, while losing 2,087. He will become the top-ranked Canadian when the updated rankings are released on Monday.
A good example of just how tough it is to win more points than you lose can be seen from Shapovalov’s results this week in Rome. He won two out of three matches, but leaves Rome losing more points than he won.
2018 Rome: Shapovalov Points Won / Points Lost
|Round||Oppenent||Score||Points Won||Points Lost||+/-|
|1||T. Berdych||WON 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(5)||86||89||-3|
|2||R. Haase||WON 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-3||119||113||6|
|3||R. Nadal||LOST 6-4 6-1||42||67||-25|
So where does Shapovalov look to craft his small gains? That conversation starts with his powerful lefty slice serve that he hits to the typical lefty targets -- down the T in the Deuce court and out wide in the Ad court.
In 2018, serving at Love-All at Masters 1000 events, Shapovalov has directed 84 per cent (21/24) of his first serves down the T, winning an impressive 76 per cent (16/21) of those points. His lefty serve slices away from a right-handers' backhand returns, and strategically brings the defensive return right down the middle of the court so he can then attack it with his aggressive forehand.
In the Ad court, Shapovalov has directed 62 per cent (59/96) of his first serves out wide, winning 81 per cent of those points. His lefty slider pulls opponents off the court, instantly opening up holes to attack back behind them as they recover to the middle of the court, or straight down the line.
Overall this season, Shapovalov is ranked ninth best on tour with second-serve points won at 55.2 per cent (310/562), and 13th best on tour with first-serve points won, at 75.8 per cent (788/1039).
Small gains are delivering big results for one of the brightest stars in our sport.