No. 2 seed Denis Shapovalov insisted it wasn't easy playing against Viktor Troicki in his opener at the St. Petersburg Open. Shapovalov, ranked at No. 12 in the world, handed a straight-set defeat to lucky loser Troicki 6-2 6-3 on Wednesday.
"I don’t think 1R matches are easy, especially against Viktor. I’ve already played against him a couple of times, and he is a very difficult opponent. In fact, it was a very tough match, I just think I played great today.
I couldn’t have played better," Shapovalov said after beating Troicki, per Max Gao. Shapovalov was drawn to meet Sam Querrey in the St. Petersburg first round but the American was pulled out of the tournament after testing positive for the coronavirus.
“[My coach Mikhail Youzhny and I] were preparing for the game against Sam. We were returning a lot, Mikhail stepped into the court so that the serve would go stronger. We worked hard," Shapovalov said. "We quickly readjusted.
I’ve already played with Viktor [Troicki] a couple of times, I already knew his game, but Mikhail [Youzhny] also helped me a lot with this match. We just changed the game plan and got ready to play against Viktor”.
Shapovalov wary of the Ilya Ivashka threat
Shapovalov will plays next against qualifier Ivashka, who defeated French Adrian Mannarino in his St. Petersburg opener. "I think it will be a very difficult match, especially on these slow courts.
Ilya gets a lot of balls & forces the opponent to play more balls, so I think I will need to have a long rally & try to win points from the very first shot," Shapovalov said of playing Ivashka next. Shapovalov, 21, claimed his lone ATP title on the indoor-hard courts of Stockholm last year.
"Indoor tennis is just natural for me. It’s what I grew up playing on. For sure, it’s difficult to have those transitions really quickly from clay court to hard court, but we’re having to get used tot these situations now and trying to adapt quickly.
So I’m really happy with the way I’ve been able to transition," Shapovalov insisted, per the ATP website. Shapovalov made the quarterfinal in his St. Petersburg debut in 2018. "I really feel like it’s my second home over here, and every time I come here the fans just love me and the atmosphere is amazing," Shapovalov claimed. "Of course, the city is so beautiful, so it’s always an honour to come here."