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Steve R.

Two Promising Young Canadian Tennis Players: Félix Auger-Alissime (2000-) and Denis Shapovalov (1999-)

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On 7/31/2017 at 3:41 PM, DonRocks said:

The date besides Félix Auger-Alissime's name isn't the year he went on tour; it's his birth year.

At age 16:

* He's the youngest player in the World Top 800 (currently ranked #749)

* He's the youngest player ever to qualify for, and win a main draw match, on the ATP Challenger Tour (the Challenger Tour is just one step below the full-fledged ATP World Tour - sort of like AAA Baseball). 

* He won the Sopra Steria de Lyon in June, making him the 7th-youngest player ever to win a Challenger tournament.

* He has won both the U.S. Open Junior Singles and Doubles titles.

On 8/11/2017 at 1:54 PM, DonRocks said:

Speaking of young Canadians ...

"'My Dream Came True Today,' Says Denis Shapovalov" by Peter Bodo on espn.com

Going to the 1st day of the US Open Quals in an hour or so.  I just looked at the drawer sheet.  At 11am, on adjacent courts, which can both be viewed by standing in between,  are matches featuring Felix A-A (court 4) & Denis Shapovalov (court 5).   I know where I'll be heading.

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Although neither match was earthshatteringly great, both were fun to watch up close & both Felix A-A & D.S. won relatively easily.  Since they're not on the same side of the draw (I don't think...I'll double check), I'll probably be there for their next round against others & will watch again.  If either/both make it to the main draw, I'll be there Monday so I might get to see their 1st round matches as well.

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2 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Although neither match was earthshatteringly great, both were fun to watch up close & both Felix A-A & D.S. won relatively easily.  Since they're not on the same side of the draw (I don't think...I'll double check), I'll probably be there for their next round against others & will watch again.  If either/both make it to the main draw, I'll be there Monday so I might get to see their 1st round matches as well.

What do you see as the relative strengths and weaknesses in their games? I've never seen either one play, except for what you see above.

[Feel free to answer about D.S. in its own post, as I may create a thread for him; or, if you want to compare the two, I may just change the title of this thread to include both.]

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I'll probably defer my comments on Felix' game since I've never seen him before this, he's coming off an injury, he was playing a fast moving smooth placement (not power) hitter & it was the 1st round, so he may have been just using the opportunity to work on things.  It was obvious that he puts pace on the ball & goes for it a lot.

Shapovolov is more a known quantity for me, having watched him throughout the Cincy tournament, including against Zverov.  Today he faced a hard hitter (for the quals) but someone who he could outhit, outrun & generally outplay as needed.  He just stepped up when needed, put it in another gear & moved on.

It looked like Shapovalov's past year or so has matured him, while Felix looked like an upcoming Junior.  Sort of like when Venus was playing as a real pro & Serena was just starting to compete with adults.

There are quite a few players in this age range around these days and it's hard to tell which will grow into stardom, which will plateau & which will fall by the wayside.  These 2 certainly look like they can be up there, even though neither is the strongest hitter, the biggest player or a dominant force.  I'm always partial to lefties.

They were cute, both wearing the exact same outfit on adjacent courts & taking roughly the same amount of time to win.

Best I could get:

IMG_5725.JPGIMG_5727.JPG

eta: Don - thanks for re-sizing and combining the photos into this post.  I'm a complete idiot at attaching photos.

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Well, the 2nd round of the Quals was not kind to Felix Auger-Aliassime.  He had to play Stakhovsky, who is a very strong player & he wasn't able to win.  Lots of great shots, incredibly fast on the court, hits a great overpowering serve, strong ground strokes, but inconsistent.  Too many mis-hits, unforced errors, wrong choices & too many "style" shots.  In one case, a lob by Stakhovsky forced him to run full speed to the back line from the net area.  He got there quickly enough, in my opinion, to run around the ball and hit a strong stroke back.  Instead, he was content to show off and hit the ball through his legs, facing away from the net.  Nice shot, great crowd pleaser & a set up for Stakhovsky who put the ball away.  Hopefully, he'll mature and get more consistent.  The raw material is clearly there.

Shapovalov had a strong opponent in Elias, an unranked player from Portugal.  It almost looked like Elias might win, but Shapovalov did what he did in the 1st round - he psyched himself up, put it in a higher gear & ran off 5 games in a row to win the 2nd set.  Hopefully, he'll win tomorrow and get into the main draw.  Fun to watch.

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14 minutes ago, Steve R. said:

I was courtside as Carreno Busta beat Mahut a couple of days ago, but I really didn't think he was as consistent & composed as he showed he was today, beating Shapovalov in 3 straight tiebreaks.  Great match to watch on TV.  Solid.

Well, I guess Shapovalov is no longer a "possible future world-class pro" - this was the Round of 16, right?

By the way, did you watch Frances Tiafoe against Federer in the 1st round? Yes, Federer was compromised, but still - Tiafoe hits the ball harder than any of the Big 3 ever did, and he's only 19 (he's also originally from College Park, MD).

"Who is Frances Tiafoe? Federer Sure Found Out." by Ben Rothenberg on nytimes.com <--- Look at the legs on this kid!

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Another year, another chance for Felix A-A to break through.  Unfortunately for him, his performances this year so far puts him in the quals. again.  Yesterday he got thru the 1st round of the quals. but not convincingly.  He needs to win today and tomorrow to get into the main draw.  Hopefully he will, but he's still not looking like he's making the transition with a bang.

eta: we went to the Quals on Tuesday and spent an hour watching Andy Murray hit, drill & play points with Gasquet.  We saw several good 1st round Qual. matches, then got seats on a practice court to watch Shapovalov.  Nice. 

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F.A-A and Shapovalov play against each other in the 1st round on Monday.  I really hate this but I have tickets for that day and will be more than happy to watch.

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Listening to  JMac hold forth to ARod during Jokovic’s 1st round Wimbledon match.  He just spent 10 minutes explaining why Felix is the great upcoming player of this generation & why, 5 years from now, we’ll be debating if he’s one of the greatest ever.  He went on & on effusively about how good Felix is & gave Denis some props, but with reservations about his lack of height.  I just had to hunt down this thread.

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[Just because I have OCD, both Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov each have their own thread now, whereas this thread remains for discussion of both players in each post. Everything can be found in our Sports Index.]

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Another year, another 1st round meet up.  Felix did not fare well & got a 1st round farewell.  Denis moves on unseeded.

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