Auckland R2 previews and predictions: Del Potro vs. Shapovalov, Isner vs. Chung

Juan Martin Del Potro will be kicking off his 2018 campaign when he goes up against Denis Shapovalov during second-round action in Auckland on Wednesday. John Isner and Hyeon Chung are also aiming for a place in the quarterfinals.

Denis Shapovalov vs. (2) Juan Martin Del Potro

Del Potro and Shapovalov will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they clash in round two of the ASB Classic on Wednesday. Their only previous encounter came last summer in Montreal, where Shapovalov prevailed 6-3, 7-6(4)–also in the second round–on his way to making a dramatic and unexpected run to the semifinals. The 18-year-old Canadian maintain his hot streak and capitalized on a favorable draw to reach the U.S. Open fourth round, but he understandably cooled off in the fall. He went 1-4 in his last five ATP tournament matches in 2017 and lost his 2018 opener to Kyle Edmund in Brisbane.

Also one of the biggest stories of last summer’s U.S. Open, Del Potro upset Roger Federer en route to the semifinals but lost to Federer twice in the fall when beating the Swiss on either occasion would have eventually sent him to the Nitto ATP Finals in London. Of course, an extra two weeks of the offseason will certainly have done the oft-injured Argentine plenty of good. A well-rested Del Potro, who captured the Auckland title in 2009, should be able to get the best of what will undoubtedly be an entertaining affair.

Pick: Del Potro in 3

Hyeon Chung vs. (4) John Isner

On the football field, the last few days for Isner have been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. His Carolina Panthers lost a close one to New Orleans Saints in the NFL playoffs last weekend and his Georgia Bulldogs fell to Alabama in overtime in the National Championship on Monday night. The 16th-ranked American will have to get his mind right before beginning his 2018 season on Wednesday. Isner’s 2017 campaign ended with a semifinal showing in Paris, where he came within two match wins of booking a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals.

Up first for Auckland’s No. 4 seed following a first-round bye is Chung, who trails the head-to-head series 2-0. Isner has won both of their previous meetings in straight sets; 7-6(5), 6-4 two years ago on the red clay of Houston and 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 at last summer’s U.S. Open. Chung earned another shot at his 6’10” opponent by scraping past lucky loser Tennys Sandgren 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 on Tuesday. This is a steep step up in competition level against Isner, who is 14-4 lifetime in Auckland with two titles.

Pick: Isner in 2

9 Comments on Auckland R2 previews and predictions: Del Potro vs. Shapovalov, Isner vs. Chung

  1. If Del Potro wins this first round match with Shapovalov, he is officially back in the top ten for the first time since August 4, 2014!!

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