Shapovalov, Kokkinakis Make Houston Debut Tuesday

Canadian Denis Shapovalov, a former top 10 player, and  Thanasi Kokkinakis will headline Tuesday’s action-packed schedule at the 2024 Fayez Sarofim U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in what will be both of their career debut appearances at River Oaks. 


Kokkinakis is one of four Australians on Tuesday’s singles schedule, a roster that includes reigning doubles champions Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson.  


Houston fans will get to enjoy live singles and doubles action across all three courts on Tuesday. French veteran Benoit Paire begins Stadium Court play against former US Clay semifinalist Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia. 


Popcorn Matchup Features Battle of North Americans

In the most star-studded match of the day, Shapovalov will face No. 5 seed Marcos Giron. Thirty-year-old Giron is one of many late bloomers in today’s game who is enjoying a career-best season on tour. 


In February, the former UCLA Bruin and 2014 NCAA champion reached his career high ranking of No. 44 following back-to-back runs to the Dallas Open finals and semifinals of Delray Beach Open. In both events, he knocked out a string of top 20 players including Adrian Mannarino (back-to-back weeks) and fellow American Frances Tiafoe.


Shapovalov’s debut appearance in Houston is part of his 2024 comeback journey following a series of injuries and setbacks. He enters River Oaks on a wave of confidence after a Round of 16 finish at Indian Wells, where he upset No. 12 Stefanos Tsitspias in a straightforward 6-2, 6-4 second round victory.


Houston fans will be treated to the first career meeting between Giron and Shapovalov first on  Stadium Court at 6 p.m. 


Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

The highest ranked player among the compelling quartet of Australian players competing on Tuesday is 29-year-old Thompson, the sixth seed who is one of only two players in Houston who has notched a singles title in 2024.


Coached by former ATP player Ryan Harrison, Thompson is having the best season of his career with 13 match wins, his debut ATP career singles title at Los Cabos and two doubles titles with partner Purcell. Thompson, the defending doubles champion at River Oaks with Purcell, faces a dangerous first round opponent in Wu Yibing, a young Chinese talent who dazzled Texas fans last year on a surprise run to winning the 2023 Dallas Open title.


No. 8 seed Purcell, a two-time defending doubles champion at River Oaks, takes on American Alex Michelsen. As the youngest player in the draw, 19-year-old Michelsen currently sits at his career high ranking of No. 70. Before he turned pro last year, Michelsen initially committed to play at the University of Georgia last fall but changed his mind after an unexpected grasscourt run to the Newport final in 2023. 


Rounding out the Australians include Kokkinakis, the 2022 Australian Open doubles champion alongside Nick Kyrgios, and James Duckworth. Kokkinakis will play against American Aleksandar Kovacevic while Duckworth will square off against Gijs Brouwer. The Houston-born Brouwer, who represents the Netherlands, has reached a semifinal and quarterfinal in his last two appearances here.


American Wildcards Play Their Hand

Houston fans who flock to Court 3 on Tuesday will be treated to a lineup of back-to-back Americans putting their wildcard entry on full display. ATP veteran Denis Kudla makes his 7th career appearance at River Oaks this year, the most of any player in the 2024 field. The 31–year-old American faces a challenging opening match against the trending Italian Luciano Darderi, who recently won his first ATP career title on the clay courts of Cordoba as a qualifier. 


American Michael Mmoh, the 26-year-old who notably capped off John Isner’s 16-year career in a thrilling five-set battle at the 2023 U.S. Open, will battle against Juan Pablo Varillas of Peru. 


Shelton Takes the Doubles Court on Tuesday

Ben Shelton, the top seed in singles, kicks off his 2024 Houston campaign with doubles alongside Andres Andrade of Ecuador. The former college teammates at University of Florida received a wildcard entry into the doubles draw.


On Court 3, they will face off against No. 3 seeds Julian Cash and Robert Galloway, the British-American pair who are in the midst of a career-best doubles season after winning their first ATP title at Delray Beach in February. Cash was the runner-up at River Oaks last year. 


Rounding out Tuesday’s doubles lineup includes a compelling Australian vs. American matchup between No. 2 seeds Nate Lammons and Jackson Withrow and Andrew Harris and Rinky Hijikata. Both former college tennis players at SMU and Texas A&M, respectively, the Texas-based doubles team is coming on the heels of a breakout 2023 season where they won four ATP titles and advanced to a total of nine ATP finals.


How to Watch and Listen

Tuesday’s day session matches will begin at 12 p.m. on both Stadium Court and Court 3. Two night session matches will be played on Stadium Court beginning at 6 p.m. Court 7 matches will begin at 2 p.m.


Stadium Court singles matches will be broadcast from first to last ball all week on the ESPN App and Court 3 matches will be broadcasted on RadioTennis.com.

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