How Can Denis Shapovalov Defeat Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon Championships 2021 Semifinals?

Published 07/08/2021, 8:15 AM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 7, 2021 Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Paul Childs


In a day’s time, Denis Shapovalov would play in his first-ever Grand Slam semifinal at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships. The Canadian has had a scintillating run so far, having ousted Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Karen Khachanov to reach the penultimate stage.

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However, now he comes across the toughest challenge of his career as faces the 19-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic, for a place in the final.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 7, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the second set during his quarter final match against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics REUTERS/Toby Melville

Shapovalov, who has lost in all his six career matches against Djokovic, has a monumental task at hand. But his spectacular semifinal performance against Khachanov, a match in which he hammered a whopping 17 aces, brightens his chances against the defending champion.

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Let us look at the way Shapovalov could topple Djokovic on Friday:

Service Games

Up against Djokovic, the greatest returner in the game, maintaining a high percentage of first serves is of utmost importance for Shapovalov.

Having fired 15 plus aces in each of his last two matches, the 22-year-old could ease off pressure by winning a high number of free points if he can continue to keep up the same numbers against Djokovic.

Net-play

The Serbian, with his spiderman-like sliding skills, is renowned to grind down his opponents from the baseline, which Shapovalov has experienced over his six losses to the tennis legend.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 7, 2021 Canada’s Denis Shapovalov reacts during his quarter final match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Hence, for Shapovalov, it would be crucial to mix up his shot-making, to finish the longer rallies by coming on the net and disrupting Djokovic’s game style. In addition, drop shot could play a big role in the match, a weapon that Shapovalov should use effectively.

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Unforced errors

Despite hammering a high number of winners, Shapovalov has committed 89 unforced errors during his last two matches. This is an area of grave concern since he cannot afford to commit such a high number of unforced errors against Djokovic, a man who hardly misses.

There’s going to be immense pressure on the young Canadian, hence he would need to keep a tab on his unforced errors count since the five-time Wimbledon Champion is adept at making his opponents force an error.

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The Shapovalov-Djokovic semifinal showdown is yet another tussle between the old guard of the Big-3 vs. the Gen-Next. Who do you think would win?

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Kshitij Tayal

420 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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