There will be at least one first-time slam semi-finalist at Wimbledon with Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov facing off for a spot in the last four and a likely meeting with Novak Djokovic. It will be the first time the pair have met in tour play but Shapovalov did win a three setter at the Davis Cup in 2019.
Khachanov burst onto the scene a few years back but had been left in the shadows of Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev who have sped past him in recent years. However, it is he who is the last Russian standing rather than his more accomplished countrymen. He won one of the most ugly fifth sets for a while against Sebastian Korda, eventually coming through 10-8 despite dropping serve six times in the set.
Needing five sets to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in round one suggested Denis Shapovalov was a long way from slam contention but in his two matches since he has looked incredibly impressive. It is hard to truly judge performances such as his dismantling of Andy Murray in round three but his victory on Manic Monday would shoot down any suggestions that it was no big deal. He cruised past Roberto Bautista Agut, hitting 15 aces in the 6-1 6-3 7-5 win. “I feel like everything’s kind of working for me. Obviously, it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to continue like this. But I’m super, super happy with the way I’ve been able to play in the past two matches” he said.
Shapovalov will go into this one as the favourite, especially after Khachanov’s physically and mentally taxing fourth round win. The Canadian is playing superb tennis right now and will not provide as many gifts as Khachanov received previously. He may not have it all his own way from the baseline here but should prove too consistent eventually unless his opponent serves lights out.
Prediction – Denis Shapovalov in four sets