Australian Open 2020: Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios, match preview and prediction
- Can Nadal score big against former nemesis and home favourite Kyrgios?
The two men are slated to play each other on Monday in the last fourth-round match of the men's draw. It will be extra special for the fans in Rod Laver Arena as they will be cheering on home favourite Kyrgios against the 2009 champion in one of the big highlights of the tournament heading into its second week.
Nadal has played some solid tennis at the year's first Slam so far and is yet to drop a set. The furthest that he has been stretched was in his second-round match against Federico Delbonis, where he had to contest in a second set tiebreaker.
Kyrgios, on the other hand, has faced a tough battle at almost every stage in the tournament. Having scraped by in a straight set opening messy, he had played two marathon matches back-to-back in the last two rounds.
His third-round match against Karen Khachanov was particularly difficult, with the Aussie coming out on top in a fifth sets tiebreaker in just under four and a half hours.
Add his time on the doubles court to that and one starts to wonder if Kyrgios will start to feel the fatigue setting in soon. It is important to note that against Nadal, it's always a big physical battle in the offing.
The fact that Nadal looks to be in prime form does not help matters for Kyrgios, who would be hoping for a sub-par performance from the Spaniard in the match.
The top seed hasn't tasted success in Melbourne in over a decade now and a match like this one might just be what he needs to gear him up for the business end of the tournament.
A statement win here will send a strong message to the other contenders like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and give Nadal just that extra bit of self-belief that might have gone missing after the many lost opportunities here in the past few years.
Prediction: Nadal to win in 4 sets.
Published 26 Jan 2020, 22:19 IST