Preview: Shapovalov vs. Garin is a chance to see what both men do best

Preview: Shapovalov vs. Garin is a chance to see what both men do best

Christian Garin owns a sizzling 12-3 record on clay this season.

Christian Garin (ATP No. 48, UTR No. 59) vs. Denis Shapovalov (ATP No. 20, UTR No. 28)

Shapovalov can’t be thrilled with his opener in Barcelona. Although he's defeated Garin once before, in  Davis Cup in 2016 on an indoor hard court, they will now face off on the Chilean's preferred surface, red-clay. Garin owns an outstanding 12-3 record on dirt this year. 

Both players bludgeon the ball, but their game styles are very different. Shapovalov loves to play high-risk, somewhat flashy tennis. He will often go for a low percentage shot because he has the talent to do so. 

Garin, on the other hand, plays very disciplined and consistent tennis, while crushing the ball at the same time. If you haven’t seen Garin play yet, now is a great chance. He reached the final of Sao Paolo in early March, and then went on to win the title in Houston. 

According to Vegas oddsmakers, Garin is actually a slight favorite to win. This makes sense given his red-hot start to the clay-court season. Look for the Chilean to out-work the Canadian on the clay and come away with a hard-fought victory. 

Victoria Azarenka (WTA No. 61, UTR No. 23) vs. Vera Zvonereva (WTA No. 84, UTR No. 84)

Not many players have beaten Azarenka six times. The Belarusian is one of the best players of her generation, but historically Zvonereva has had her number. Zvonereva owns a 6-4 head-to-head advantage, but they haven’t played since the 2011 WTA Championships, a match Azarenka won 6-2, 6-3. Eight years later they will face off on indoor clay in Stuttgart; Zvonereva won their only meeting on the surface in the 2008 Prague final. 

This is an exciting matchup given the history between the two. Serena Williams may be the only player with more raw power than Azarenka, but Zvonereva is typically unfazed by her opponents' power. The 34-year-old Zvonereva has certainly lost a step or two, but she can still use her opponents' pace to redirect the ball and take control of the point. 

Father Time, however, remains undefeated. Look for Azarenka to exact some revenge on aging Zvonereva, who has given the Belarusian much trouble throughout her illustrious career.