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2019 Mexican Open, Acapulco: Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios, Preview and Prediction

  • In recent times Kyrgios has struggled with fitness and focus. Can he live up to his reputation of being a big match player, against Nadal?
Modified 27 Feb 2019, 16:18 IST
Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal
Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal

The fans are in for a potential blockbuster when top seed Rafael Nadal and the highly talented Nick Kyrgios take centre stage in Acapulco. The reason for using the word ‘potential’ is simply because of the extreme unpredictability associated with the Australian youngster.

The 23-year-old is capable of toppling the best players on any surface, but has the propensity to self-destruct. In recent times, it has been more of the latter, as a result of which the once world number 13 has slipped down in the world rankings to as low as 72 now.

But Kyrgios tends to raise his game against the big players. He has won one out of four matches against Federer, and except for the 2018 US Open match, every other match went to a deciding set.

Against Nadal, his performance has been even better. He has won two of the five matches they have played against each other. Of the five, two matches were played on clay which expectedly, Nadal won. The only match played on grass at the 2014 Wimbledon was won by Nick and they have split the two hard court matches.

However, in recent times Kyrgios has struggled with fitness and focus. And it will be interesting to see whether he can live up to his reputation of being a big match player. In his first round match against Andreas Seppi, he was quite aggressive and more importantly, largely consistent. 13 aces to just one double fault is a reflection of the fact that he was focused throughout the match.

Kyrgios at Telcel ATP Mexican Open 2019 - Day 2
Kyrgios at Telcel ATP Mexican Open 2019 - Day 2

He was especially good on his second serve, as he won 68% of those, compared to just 43% by Seppi. That was a major factor in his comparatively easy victory. But unlike Seppi, in Nadal, Kyrgios is going to encounter an opponent who seems to be playing some of his best tennis on hard courts.

In his first match, against Mischa Zverev, Nadal may have been able to keep only 62% of his first serves in, but he managed to win 69% of those points. And he won a whopping 85% of his second serve points.

Nadal’s remodeled and improved serve saw him make the finals of the Australian Open earlier this year. He would certainly like to go one better here and win his third title. He goes into the match against Kyrgios as an overwhelming favourite.

Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in Straight Sets

Published 27 Feb 2019, 16:13 IST
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