World number three Rafael Nadal will be in third round action against Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the third round of the 2021 Italian Open on Thursday, May 13. Get the live streaming options of this Rafael Nadal v Denis Shapovalov match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Rafael Nadal v Denis Shapovalov Head to Head
There have been three previous meetings between these two players including one at the Davis Cup of 2019 and Nadal leads 2-1. Shapovalov’s only win came in their first meeting at the Montreal Masters in 2017 while Nadal responded with wins in Rome in 2018 and the Davis Cup in 2019.
There was supposed to be a fourth meeting at the 2019 Paris Masters but a Nadal withdrawal gave the Canadian a walkover.
Nadal Tested But Hands Sinner a Lesson
Quarterfinal exits at both, the Monte-Carlo Open and the Madrid Masters have left Nadal slightly vulnerable on his favourite surface and all eyes and more were on him as he took to court to face Jannik Sinner in their second round match.
Nadal, after all, is going after a stunning 14th title at Roland-Garros but has looked more and more beatable on clay and playing against one of the most talented players in the world right now was going to be a true test of where his form lay before the French Open.
The Spaniard needed two hours and 12 minutes in the end but came through in two gruelling sets to march into the third round. He won 7-5, 6-4 after needing to come back from a break down in both.
Sinner broke Nadal twice in the first set, in the first and fifth game, but was broken right back in the next before the Spaniard completed a victory in the 12th game off his seventh set-point.
The second set began in similar fashion with only this time did Sinner manage to hold on to the break advantage for a longer time. Having taken the advantage in the third game, Sinner served to make it 5-3 but then lost three games in a row to fall to a straight-set loss.
Nadal will hope things don’t get this hot under the collar come round three.
Rare Back to Back Wins on Clay for Shapovalov
While not quite the biggest fan of clay court tennis, Shapovalov has had some of his better results on clay here in Rome. Last year, for instance, he made it as far as the semifinals at the Rome Masters and and this time around, the world number 14 has already won back to back matches in this competition.
After starting out with a 6-1, 6-3 rout of Kamil Majchrzak in the first round, Shapovalov proved to be too good for Stefano Travaglia in the second. He registered a 7-6 (2), 6-3 victory.
His second round win took an hour and 36 minutes, as Shapovalov saved three break-points including a set-point in the first set before clinching it in a tie-breaker, before breaking his opponent twice in the set.
In fact once, the Canadian had taken a 2-0 lead in the second set, there was no looking back for him as he eased to a victory. Nadal might not be as easy to get past.
Nadal v Shapovalov Prediction and Tip
With 1/3 sounding like rather short odds for a straight-set win for Nadal – which we think is the most likely result for this – we could look at Games Handicap for this. A +4.5 games handicap for Shapovalov might not be such a bad idea.