WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips as headline-grabbing Aussie Nick Kyrgios confronts title favourite Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

Australian Open Tips – Nick Kyrgios V Daniil Medvedev

19:05 (AEDT), Thu 20th Jan @ Melbourne Park

History: Played 2: Kyrgios 2 V Medvedev 0

Last meeting: Washington Open, 2019: Kyrgios d Medvedev 7-6 7-6

Final Thoughts: Nick Kyrgios returned to the court from a four-month layoff in trademark fashion in the first round of the Australian Open. Audacious shots. Underarm serves. Whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Interview F-bombs.

But most importantly, Kyrgios played some outstanding tennis in a 6-4 6-4 6-3 victory over plucky Brit Liam Broady. His serve was on song throughout, offering up just one break point (which he saved) and sending down 21 aces.

Now, though, Kyrgios has drawn the shortest straw of the second round courtesy of a showdown with world No.2 Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev thwarted Novak Djokovic’s Calendar Slam ambitions with a dominant US Open final victory in September and is the Australian Open favourite following the defending champ’s deportation.

The runner-up to Djokovic in last year’s Australian Open, the 25-year-old kicked off his campaign with a comfortable first-round defeat of Henri Laaksonen (6-1 6-4 7-6).

Aussie Nick holds psychological edge

Kyrgios boasts one significant advantage ahead of this blockbuster: he has won both of his previous encounters with Medvedev. Both matches were in 2019. Kyrgios took out a three-setter at the Rome Masters before winning 7-6 7-6 in the final of the hard-court Washington Open – just weeks before Medvedev powered to his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open.

Despite the massive discrepancy in their current rankings and his lack of court time, world No.114 Kyrgios will relish the occasion and electric atmosphere. His staggering natural ability will put Medvedev under pressure at regular junctures. If Kyrgios goes down, he’ll go down fighting.

In similar circumstances, he exited the last two Australian Opens in five-setters against 16th seed Karen Khachanov (2020) and defending US Open champ Dominic Thiem (2021).

Medvedev is clearly the superior player and should get through. But the handicap markets provide plenty of value for Kyrgios punters. The $6.10 underdog may not be able to push Medvedev to five, but he’s likely to go on enough of a tear during the match to pick up at least one set.

Tip: Medvedev wins match and both players win a set @ $2.20

AUSTRALIAN OPEN TIPS

 MATCH-UP
Kamil Majchrzak V Alex de MinaurSet Betting – de Minaur 3-0 @ $2.10
Diego Schwartzman V Christopher O’ConnellGames Handicap – Schwartzman -6.5 @ $1.87
Frances Tiafoe V Taylor FritzTotal – 5 Sets @ $3.75