WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips as enigmatic Aussie Nick Kyrgios kicks off his campaign against Brit Liam Broady.
19:05 (AEDT), Tue 18th Jan @ Melbourne Park
History: First meeting
Final Thoughts: Nick Kyrgios is rated the best Australian hope in the men’s draw, but that status is largely based on reputation and ability.
The laconic, injury-prone 26-year-old played just 15 singles matches in 2021. He made it to the third round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, missed the French Open and was bundled out in the opening round of the US Open.
Kyrgios, currently ranked 114th, is also taking the court competitively for the first time since the Laver Cup in September.
But the controversial star has become an overwhelming crowd favourite in Melbourne and grows another leg at the Australian Open. He is 8-1 in first-round matches at the season’s first major (21-7 in first-round Grand Slam matches overall) and was inspirational on a limited build-up last year, eventually going down to third seed Dominic Thiem in five sets in the third round.
Journeyman qualifier Liam Broady is making his Australian Open main draw debut. He’s appearing in a Grand Slam for just the sixth time, and the third in the past three and a half years. He upset Marco Cecchinato in the opening round at Wimbledon last year.
The 28-year-old Brit has been plugging away on the ITF and Challenger circuit. Broady had to fight back from opening-set losses in all three of his qualifying victories.
This is a tricky match-up for Kyrgios after such a long layoff – Broady is limited, but dogged. If Kyrgios finds serving rhythm early, this should be over quickly. Expect him to progress…but not without a few hiccups.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN TIPS
|Lorenzo Musetti V Alex de Minaur||Set Betting – de Minaur 3-0 @ $1.91|
|Alexei Popyrin V Arthur Rinderknech||Result – Popyrin @ $2.15|
|Nikoloz Basilashvili V Andy Murray||Games Handicap – Murray -3.5 @ $1.93|