Shapovalov has been back to tennis for a few weeks now, and with every match, he's looking better. The Canadian lost to Hugo Gaston in Marseille but beat him in the qualifiers for the Rotterdam Open, in what was their third match in two weeks.
He needs to win against some bigger opponents, and Monfils is a perfect chance for him to do so. The French player is a former champion of the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam and has played there a few times.
He's quite familiar and favours the conditions. Still, he has generally looked beatable in recent months. This year hasn't been that great for him so far, but he's hoping to turn the page in Rotterdam.
The match is a pretty interesting one because we are getting two players who are playing on a similar level. The French player bested Shapovalov in their first match in 2019, but the Canadian easily won their only indoor match later that year.
It's been a long time since we've seen them play against each other, but generally, Shapovalov has given Monfils a lot of problems in the past. I could see it happening again, but several things need to happen for him to win the match.
The crucial thing for Shapovalov will be to serve really well. It's the same case for Monfils because Rotterdam rewards great serving. Both will need to be stable from the baseline, which isn't a given for either player and could result in a lot of twists and turns.
Shapovalov does have the physical edge, as he can go longer, but I don't think this will extend too long. Overall I think Shapovalov will get it done.
Prediction: Denis Shapovalov to win in three sets.