There have already been 4 matches between these two players. Denis Shapovalov won the first match, played in Tokyo in 2018, while Jan-Lennard Struff won the next 3 matches (all played in 2019, on clay in Monte Carlo and Roland Garros, and on grass in Stuttgart).
This is the third year in a row that Denis Shapovalov has participated in this tournament in Cincinnati, and the third time in a row that he has qualified in the second round. Last season, he didn’t manage to go further (Lucas Pouille beat him). His best performance was in 2018 when he reached the 1/8 finals (wins over Tiafoe and Edmund, and defeat against his compatriot Milos Raonic).
Jan-Lennard Struff, for his part, has only played once in this Masters 1000 before. That was last season and he reached the 1/8 finals.
In this edition
In the first round, Denis Shapovalov won nicely against Marin Cilic (6-3 6-3).
Jan-Lennard Struff won his first match against Alex De Minaur (6-2 6-4), also with style.
These two men caused a sensation in the first round. The underestimated Jan-Lennard Struff put in a great performance against Alex De Minaur. What I really liked about the German was that he was hurting from the very first stroke of the racquet. His very offensive frame of mind managed to stifle the Australian who never managed to spread his wings.
Nevertheless, Alex De Minaur let Jan-Lennard Struff play a lot. One could even say that the Australian put his opponent in good conditions: a rather weak serve (especially his seconds) that made him want to hit hard in return, and some neutral shots in the rallies that allowed Struff to let go and gain confidence.
It is obvious that Jan-Lennard Struff has a chance to win this new match if he plays the same way. But I doubt that Denis Shapovalov will let him play that way. The Canadian should stay on the same momentum as he did in his first match against Marin Cilic. Excellent on serve (9 aces, 84% points on his first, 60% on his second, and no break point conceded), he also knew how to let his explosiveness speak for itself so as to never leave the Croatian in his comfort zone.
To sum up, Denis Shapovalov will not give as much gift on his service games and, unlike De Minaur, he should attack and above all counter-attack. The Canadian should move a little more Jan-Lennard Struff, laterally but also forward. The objective will be to get the German out of his comfort zone so that he cannot make his dangerous bindings. The installation of a little doubt will then be able to do the rest.
Jan-Lennard Struff leads in this face-off. Then we could say he has a psychological advantage. Nevertheless, we’re not dealing with the Shapovalov of the last two years. Also, the Canadian had lost twice on clay (which isn’t really his favourite surface), and once on grass in Struff’s country. The previous confrontations are therefore not to be taken into account in my opinion.
Denis Shapovalov has all the cards in hand to get through this match and meet Goffin or Coric in the 1/8 final.
Prediction: Victoire de Denis Shapovalov