World No. 1 Novak Djokovic showed his respect for Denis Shapovalov ahead of his matchup against the rising Canadian star.
“Shapo is maturing, he has an allround game. Huge serve, lefty, comfortable coming to the net, his movement is improved, so he is making less errors. We played tight two sets at the ATP Cup, courts were quick, and it’s difficult to play against his serve,” Djokovic said of Shapovalov, per Sasa Ozmo.
Djokovic, seeded at No. 1, saw off Marton Fucsovics 6-3 6-4 6-4 to set up a Shapovalov clash.
“It was a solid performance and I started off really well, particularly in the first five games of the set,” said Djokovic. “One break of serve in the second and third sets was enough today and I’d like to give credit to Marton for fighting so hard.”
After the match, Fucsovics praised Djokovic.
“He started very well [and] he played well during the whole match,” said Fucsovics. “I had to find the rhythm. I had to find my serve. It was a bit windy during the match [and] I had to get used to it.”
Shapovalov aims to stun Djokovic
“It was definitely super tough, especially in the fifth set, having 0/40 and not converting. Then having the craziest game of my life, being able to win that was massive,” Shapovalov said after beating Karen Khachanov. “I was in a similar position at the US Open last year in the quarter-finals, and I thought I started the fifth set a little slow, so I told myself just play every single point as hard as you can, and a bit of luck was on my side.
“He [Djokovic] is the best player in the world, but when you look at the scoreboard, the first thing on Friday, it is going to be level. I have full belief in me and my team, anything is possible.”