Gael Monfils vs Denis Shapovalov US Open Picks 8/31/2019
Gael Monfils vs Denis Shapovalov
10 am EST, 31st August 2019
New York, NY (USA)
Denis Shapovalov was having a losing season before entering Winston Salem last week. That 4 months-long stretch after that semifinal in Miami was really rough for him. He won only 4 out of his 15 matches and it was obvious that he needs to change something. In such cases, revamp of the coaching staff is the most common move. Shapovalov made a bold decision by hiring Mikhail Youzhny, who was still an active player not so long ago. Russian is nicknamed "The Colonel" for his famous salute as a celebration after the victory. Youzhny doesn't have much experience as a coach, but I can see how Shapovalov thought that Mikail's tutelage could help him. They have a pretty similar playing style. Relying on shotmaking ability, and sporting that single-handed backhand with a lot of flair. Whatever the reason was, it seems like it was a correct decision. He had a strong tournament in Winston Salem, reaching the semifinals and he is yet to lose a set at US Open this year. On Thursday, he got past Henri Laaksonen, but the first-round match was probably even more impressive. He eliminated his compatriot and a Top 20 player in the world - Felix Auger Aliassime. It was a short, 99 minutes long match where he surrendered only 6 games in the entire match.
Gael Monfils is another player who cruised through the first two rounds. But there were some serious questions about his fitness before this tournament. He was great in Montreal, a couple of weeks ago, but was forced to withdraw just before the semifinal match against Rafa Nadal, because of an ankle injury. He came right back next week in Cincinnati but was defeated immediately by Tiafoe. In a previous couple of days, it didn't seem like something is slowing him down. He got past Albert Ramos and Marius Copil without dropping a single set. But, Shapovalov in the current form is on a different level comparing to those two other opponents.
These two players never met before in an official match. We will see a clash of styles in this one. Shapovalov is a very aggressive player, who loves to step forward and use his powerful shots to punch through opposing defense. While on the other side, Gael Monfils is the complete opposite. He will stay deep behind the baseline and rely on his amazing athleticism to run down all the shots and get them back in play. But when an opportunity presents itself, he can also be a very dangerous counter-puncher and turn defense into offense with a single shot.
Betting odds & prediction
The key for Shapovalov here is patience. That part of the game was something that was hurting his progress earlier. He can get carried away at times, rush into some shots and take too much risk when that is not necessary. But in my opinion, he is managing the risk better lately, which is one of the main reasons why the results improved. He should try to avoid giving Monfils opportunities to hit on the run, especially from the forehand side. If he can make this one about rallying through the middle, he will have an upper hand in this match.
Line opened with Shapovalov being favored around -115. Money is coming in on Monfils, which caused a 25 cent move on Shapovalov. I would usually agree with this movement because Denis should not like this matchup. But he's playing really well at the moment, while La Monf's fitness is questionable. Shapovalov is the right side at this price.
Pick: Denis Shapovalov +108
Read more articles by Josh Schonwald
Get all of Today's Free Tennis Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert Tennis Picks