Fixture: (3) Dominic Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios
Date: 12 February 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 32)
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: AUD $80 million
Live Telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | India - Sony Ten Network / Sony Liv Premium
Dominic Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios preview
No. 3 seed and last year's finalist Dominic Thiem will face home favorite Nick Kyrgios on Friday in a blockbuster third-round match at the 2021 Australian Open. And with the off-court exchange between the two players in July last year still fresh in memory, there's some added spice to this encounter.
Coming in on the back of his maiden Slam title at the 2020 US Open, Dominic Thiem has looked impeccable in his opening two matches at Melbourne Park. The Austrian coasted through a potentially dangerous second-round match against Dominik Koepfer for the loss of a mere six games.
But Thiem has been handed a brutal draw in his quest to better his runner-up performance from 2020 and win his second Major title. A Kyrgios clash early in the tournament could be the perfect opportunity for the World No. 3 to test his game before progressing deeper into the tournament.
Kyrgios was down two sets to one, and also down a break in the fourth set. But he broke back when Humbert was serving for the match and then won the set in the tiebreak to level the score.
The Aussie broke early on in the fifth and held his serve throughout to register another epic win in front of his home crowd.
Dominic Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios head-to-head
It would come as a surprise to most that despite sharing more than six years together on tour, the upcoming match at the Australian Open will only be the second ever career meeting between Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios.
In fact, the pair have played only seven games of competitive tennis against each other. Their only match was back in 2015 at Nice, where Kyrgios retired in the first set while trailing Thiem 3-4.
Dominic Thiem thus leads their head-to-head by a slender margin of 1-0.
Dominic Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios prediction
Dominic Thiem has arguably the best forehand on the men's tour at the moment. The Austrian is capable of winning matches on the strength of that shot alone, firing missiles at bullet speed that reduce his opponents to mere spectators.
Thiem's groundstrokes were firing on all cylinders on Wednesday against Koepfer, as he hit 34 winners past the German. The third seed also showed some deft volleying skills, winning 14 out of 15 points at the net - a stark departure from his 'ball-basher' reputation.
Nick Kyrgios had a much tougher time than Thiem in his second-round match. But the mercurial Australian showed enough game to re-assure his fans that he can still take on anyone on the tour, which makes the upcoming match all the more exciting.
That said, Kyrgios had not played a professional match for almost a year before returning last week. A 3.5 hour-long five-setter could be brutal to his body in such circumstances.
Keeping all that in mind, Thiem can be expected to come through after a tight battle.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in four tight sets.