Fixture: (6) Denis Shapovalov vs Benoit Paire
Date: 17 August 2021
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,028,140
Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel | UK – Amazon Prime Video
Denis Shapovalov vs Benoit Paire preview
Denis Shapovalov will look to put his recent run of poor results behind him as he takes on Benoit Paire in the second round of the 2021 Western and Southern Open.
Shapovalov had a strong grasscourt season in the aftermath of his withdrawal from Roland Garros. He reached the last four at Queen’s and then made his first Major semifinal appearance at Wimbledon. Shapovalov defeated the likes of Roberto Bautista Agut and Karen Khachanov at SW19 before coming up short against eventual champion Novak Djokovic in a tight semifinal.
Since then, however, the 22-year-old has endured a distinct downslide. Shapovalov crashed out of the claycourt event in Gstaad against World No. 249 Vit Kopriva in his very first match. He then lost 1-6, 4-6 to Frances Tiafoe in the second round of the Toronto Masters last week.
On the other hand, Benoit Paire’s 2021 season has been far from ideal. The Frenchman has a dismal win-loss record of 8-22 this year, and has repeatedly spoken about his lack of motivation to compete on tour amid the pandemic.
The 32-year-old did have a few positive results on clay following Wimbledon though, reaching the quarterfinals in Hamburg and Gstaad. Paire has won a few matches in Atalanta and Toronto this month too, and he came into Cincinnati on the back of a respectable loss to Diego Schwartzman.
Paire has set up the second-round encounter against Shapovalov by defeating Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in three sets.
Denis Shapovalov vs Benoit Paire head-to-head
The second-round encounter in Cincinnati is the fourth match between the two players, and Benoit Paire currently leads the head-to-head 2-1 over Denis Shapovalov.
Shapovalov prevailed in the pair’s first meeting at the 2018 Madrid Masters but Paire beat the Canadian later that year, in the second round of Wimbledon. The Frenchman won their last match too, a three-set quarterfinal at Lyon in 2019.
Denis Shapovalov vs Benoit Paire prediction
Denis Shapovalov is the on-paper favorite for the encounter despite his three-match losing streak. That said, Benoit Paire is a tricky opponent to face first up in any tournament.
The Frenchman has had a poor run in 2021, but he does have the kind of tools that can trouble Shapovalov. Paire uses a lot of variety to redirect pace and disrupt the rhythm of his opponent, with slices and drop shots being a prominent feature of his game.
Shapovalov’s power-packed game is well-suited to faster surfaces though. The 22-year-old’s powerful lefty serve and reliable groundstrokes are real threats on the American hardcourts.
If Shapovalov is able to keep his focus and avoid leaking errors through reckless shot selection, he should be able to power through any challenge posed by Paire.
Prediction: Denis Shapovalov to win in three sets.