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Ricky’s preview and pick for the Seoul semifinal between Shapovalov and Brooksby

Denis Shapovalov of Canada on the stretch. EPA-EFE/JAMES ROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

By Ricky Dimon

Denis Shapovalov and Jenson Brooksby will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Saturday afternoon when they battle for a place in the Korea Open final.

A thoroughly disappointing season has Shapovalov down at No. 24 in the rankings, but he may be rounding into form just in time to deliver a strong finish. The 23-year-old Canadian played well at the U.S. Open, beating Marc-Andrea Huesler and Roberto Carballes Baena before coming up short in a five-set thriller against Andrey Rublev. Shapovalov earned a first-round bye in Seoul as the No. 3 seed and then defeated Jaume Munar 7-5, 6-4, and Radu Albot 6-2, 6-2.

Jenson Brooksby of the United States in action. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

The story is a similar one for Brooksby, who has struggled for much of the 2022 campaign but is now coming on strong. He finished runner-up in Atlanta, also reached the U.S. Open third round, and made a quarterfinal appearance in San Diego. The world No. 46 punched his ticket to the Seoul semifinals by beating Tung-Lin Wu in three sets and Soonwoo Kwon in straights. He then got a walkover from Cameron Norrie (Covid-19).

This should be a high-quality encounter and fun contrast in styles–one that probably would have given Shapovalov significant trouble early in the summer. However, the lefty is finally armed with confidence and therefore should be able to deal with Brooksby’s junk-balling–or end rallies quickly with his superior firepower before he gets lulled into the American’s game.

Look for Shapovalov to win a close one.

Pick: Shapovalov in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.