French Open: Canada's Shapovalov Advances, Set to Face No. 1 Alcaraz
Before the French Open started, Denis Shapovalov had yet to show any signs that a potential run in the tournament was possible.
Working back from a knee injury, he took part in just Barcelona and Madrid events during the clay season lead-up to Roland Garros and lost two of three matches during that span. The tennis betting sites didn't expect him to make much of a run.
"Honestly, going into this tournament I didn't really know what to expect,” Shapovalov said. “I was barely playing any tennis, just trying to see how the knee is this week and try to play as much as possible."
Denis Shapovalov's Best French Open Showing
Despite the lack of preparation and injury concerns, Shapovalov is in the midst of his best French Open run. Before, he had never made it past the second round of the tournament. Still, after a five-set win over Brandon Nakashima (6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3) and a four-set triumph over Matteo Arnaldi (6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3), Shapovalov is in the third round at Roland Garros for the first time in his career.
“Here I am making my best result at the French, so maybe I should practice less,” he said. “But, I’ll give it my all. I’ll see how it is. Hopefully, the knee is good for the match. It’s nice to put yourself in these situations.”
The French Open is the grand slam that Shapovalov has yet to have the most success at. He has quarterfinal appearances at the U.S. Open (2020) and Australian Open (2022) and was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2021.
Up Next for Shapovalov: No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz
Now Shapovalov will have to deal with an increase in competition when he faces world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. The 2022 U.S. Open champion entered the French Open as the betting favorite as low as +145 and dropped just one set in two matches and has dominated the majority of his matches up to this point, recording a 32-3 record this season.
It will be the first meeting between Shapovalov and Alcaraz. Shapovalov admits he’s enjoyed watching Alcaraz’s rise, which has included a No. 1 world ranking and U.S. Open title by the age of 20.
"First of all, I'm a huge, huge fan of his,” Shapovalov said. “I think he's a great guy. He's super humble for achieving what he has at such a young age," he said. "You can see how much he enjoys being on the court and the situations that are coming forward to him. He's not in an easy spot being No.1 and so young and so much noise around him.
"I really look up to him. I think he is also just a nice guy. In the locker rooms, he's always saying hi. He's always been polite since he came onto the scene. I think he has a great team around him."
Alcaraz Heavily Favored over Shapovalov
Unsurprisingly, Shapovalov is a sizeable underdog. Alcaraz is a -4000 moneyline favorite at FanDuel, with Shapovalov’s odds at +1400. A moneyline bet seems difficult for even the biggest Shapovalov fans to consider against Alcaraz. But if you wanted a bet to back the Canadian, the Shapovalov to win a set prop bet is at +152.
Alcaraz is still the favorite to win the men’s French Open at +140 on FanDuel Sportsbook, while Novak Djokovic is second at +190. Those two would meet in the semifinals if they continue to advance.
Shapovalov is still a longshot to win the French Open, tied for the biggest odds of the remaining players at +25000.
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