Present and future. And a lot of history behind it. Denis Shapovalov (11th) and Félix Auger-Aliassime (20th) will light the fire of the third round of Australian Open when they are measured for the fourth time at a professional level in what will be, without a doubt, one of the most compelling matches of that instance.
Both beat their respective rivals in three sets in the second turn (Denis to Tomic and Felix to Duckworth) and, for the pass to the second round of the first Grand Slam of the year, the young Canadians will reissue a duel with a lot of history.
It will be the third time they are measured in a large tournament: the previous two were on Shapo’s side, in the 2018 and 2019 US Open, respectively. The first time, Auger-Aliassime must have drop out when 5-7, 7-5 and 1-4 down due to tachycardia problem that plagued him during his junior career and threatened to ruin what has been an interesting career path.
But not all have been bad experiences between the two. In 2016, they were runners-up at Wimbledon junior in the doubles category, in a tournament in which Auger-Aliassime also won the singles crown.
After beating the local Tomic, Shapovalov recalled at a press conference the first confrontation between the two in under 12 years. “I think we played for the first time in the Canadian nationals. He says I beat him 6-0 and 6-0. Honestly, we played so many times that my memory is starting to fail me.” slipped Shapo. It will be necessary to see if he has memory to arrive at the second week in Melbourne.