Everyone has a favorite season. Someone should ask him to be sure, but from his tennis, Denis Shapovalov seems like a person to die for.
It seems that every year, as the leaves begin to turn red, the Canadian begins to find his best tennis. Such was the case last week when he was at his best to kick off an abbreviated 2022 ATP Asian Swing.
Here’s what you need to know:
In case you missed it: Shapovalov finds his A-game
While many big-name players struggle in the post-US Open period, often due to wear and tear at the end of a long season, Denis Shapovalov has often flourished in the final months of the year.
Of the five finals he has reached in his career, four have come after the major season finale. The fifth such final was held last week at the Korea Open in Seoul.
It was a good week for the Canadian No. 2, as he raced through the field en route to the final without dropping a set. However, he was beaten in the title match by Yoshihito Nishioka, who beat three seeds, Shapovalov, No. 1 Casper Ruud and No. 5 Dan Evans, en route to his second career title.
Still, reaching the Seoul final was Shapovalov’s best result of 2022 and was his first title match in nearly a year.
Vasek Pospisil also achieved the best result of the season last week, reaching the quarter-finals of the Tel Aviv Open.
Not only did Pospisil reach the last eight of a tour-level event for only the second time in 2022, but he gave eventual champion Novak Djokovic all he could handle in their quarter-final clash, pushing the top seed for two hours before Djokovic finished. him.
Pospisil entered the draw as a lucky loser and upset eighth seed Tallon Griekspoor in the first round. He then beat Edan Leshem in straight sets to settle Djokovic’s clash. Djokovic’s 7-6(5), 6-3 win was his toughest of the event.
The Serb went on to defeat Marin Cilic for the title.
There was a first champion on the ATP Tour last week, with Marc-Andrea Huesler winning the title in Sofia, Bulgaria, beating Holger Rune in the final.
On the WTA Tour, the final crown on clay was taken by Mayar Sherif, who upset world No. 7 Maria Sakkari to claim her first career title at the Parma Ladies Open in Italy.
In the process, Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to win a WTA Tour title.
Sakkari was the heavy favorite in the event as the only Top 25 player in the draw, but struggled early on, needing to rally from a set in each of her first three matches. She was defeated by Sherif in the final in straight sets.
At the Tallinn Open in Estonia, Barbora Krejcikova broke the hearts of the host country by defeating local favorite Anett Kontaveit in straight sets to win her first title of the season. Krejcikova beat the top two seeds in a row to win the title.
The semi-finals in Tallinn thrilled the local crowd, as Kontaveit beat Kaia Kanepi in an all-Estonian semi-final.
What to watch: Deep fields through circuits
It’s a busy week on both circuits with three 500m events, two on the ATP Tour and one on the WTA, featuring many of the best players in the world.
Carlos Alcaraz will compete in his first ATP Tour event this week as the world No. 1 at the Astana Open, although he will have his hands full in the first round against David Goffin.
Astana’s squad is incredibly strong and includes six of the world’s top 10 including Alcaraz, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Djokovic, Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz.
Félix Auger-Aliassime was also competing in Astana, but suffered a poor draw and was beaten by Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round.
Denis Shapovalov will be looking to carry his good form into the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships where he is the seventh seed. He opens against American Steven Johnson and is in the same quarter as Cincinnati champion Borna Coric.
Casper Ruud is the top seed in Tokyo, headlining a draw that also includes Taylor Fritz, Nick Kyrgios, Frances Tiafoe, Alex de Minaur and Seoul champion Yoshihito Nishioka.
The 2022 Agel Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic features a powerful WTA 500 draw that includes four of the world’s top 10.
World number one Iga Świątek is competing in her first event since winning the US Open. She is joined by Paula Badosa, Anett Kontaveit and Maria Sakkari.
Ostrava features the only Canadian competing on the main circuit this week, as Eugenie Bouchard managed to qualify for the main draw and will meet sixth seed Belinda Bencic in the first round.
Other big names in the Ostrava draw include Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, National Bank Open runner-up Beatriz Haddad Maia, world number 11 Daria Kasatkina and grand champions Petra Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenko, Barbora Krejcikova, Victoria Azarenka and Emma Raducanu, who meets Kasatkina in a blockbuster first-round clash.
Ons Jabeur has the chance to play in front of her home crowd this week in Tunisia, as she is the top seed at the Jasmin Open Monastir, at 250. She is joined by world No. 12 Veronika Kudermetova and the persistent Alize Cornet in Monastir.
Under the Radar:
Christian Lakoseljac was the only Canadian to reach the quarter-finals of a singles event on the ITF Tour last week, advancing to the last eight in Albuquerque.
Several Canadian men are competing in ATP Challenger events this week, including Davis Cup team member Alexis Galarneau at the Tiburon Challenger in the United States.
There is also a large Canadian contingent at the ITF U15 event in Ithica, New York, where nine Canadian men compete.
You can follow the Canadiens in action each week here.