TennisSection previews the 2023 Australian Open as Hubert Hurkacz takes on Denis Shapovalov in the third round on Friday, January 20, 2023.
Hubert Hurkacz survived a five-set dogfight in the previous round. But there will be no rest for the weary when the Polish No. 1 takes on Denis Shapovalov for a place in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Who will prevail?
Hubert Hurkacz tamed the big-serving Lorenzo Sonego in five sets, but it was far from a convincing performance. Hurkacz, at times, took a pill of his own medicine as Sonego used his explosive power off the ground to sweep past the Pole and led 2-sets to 1. But Hurkacz produced some crunching returns in the fourth and fifth sets to break the Italian’s resistance.
Denis Shapovalov, meanwhile, continued his serene progress to the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-3 7-6 7-5 win over Japan’s Taro Daniel. Daniel is no pushover, especially on hard courts. He defeated Murray last year in this part of the continent and took a set off Jannik Sinner. So the Canadian lefty did remarkably well to quell his threat and set up a showdown against Hubert Hurkacz.
Hubert Hurkacz leads Denis Shapovalov 3-1 in their head-to-head. All four meetings were contested on hard courts, with Hurkacz winning their last bout at the 2021 Miami Masters en route to the title. Shapovlaov has the power and poise to unsettle Hurkacz in a manner Sonego did so well for the first three sets before wilting away. Again, with Shapovalov patience is key because his game could misfire in a blink of an eye. But he’s clearly in better form at the Australian Open than Hurkacz and should produce something akin to his best tennis to reach the second week.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Denis Shapovalov in 5 sets
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