nickrafapick

There’s well-documented tension between world No. 40 Nick Kyrgios and world No. 4 Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard has made it clear, at times, that he doesn’t believe the Australian has respect for himself, the fans or the sport. Kyrgios, meanwhile, has noted that he and Nadal are extremely different as people, and that should only mean that there will be some fireworks when the two meet in the Wimbledon semifinals. Even if Kyrgios doesn’t direct his emotions directly at Nadal, it’s likely he’ll find something to rile himself up in this one. That’s exactly what happened when the two met at Indian Wells, where Nadal earned a 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 victory over Kyrgios.

Nadal is 6-3 in this head-to-head series and the 22-time Grand Slam champion comes into this one on a three-match winning streak against Kyrgios. The first of those three wins was at the All England Club, in 2014. It is, however, extremely important to do your best to ignore the past when deciding which way to bet this match. This is the best version of Kyrgios that we have seen on the ATP Tour, as he is 12-3 on grass in 2022. In that span, the Australian earned two victories over world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Kyrgios has become one of the game’s most dominant servers, which is a testament to the renewed focus he has displayed this season.

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Not only is Kyrgios playing some of the best tennis of his career coming into this match, but Nadal really went through it in his five-set win over world No. 14 Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals. That match lasted four hours and 20 minutes, with the Spaniard emerging with the 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) win. Nadal’s body went through a lot during that match—abdominal pain the latest culprit—as he was noticeably laboring throughout. And considering the 36-year-old has been dealing with foot issues for years, it's concerning to see him so clearly in pain. Kyrgios already possesses the power to hit through Nadal on a good day, but he can really give him trouble if the Spaniard's core and wheels aren't working the way they normally do.

With only one day of rest in between the two rounds, it’s hard to see how Nadal will find a way to fully recover for this meeting with Kyrgios. And if the legend isn’t at his best in this one, there’s just no way that he’ll end up beating the Australian and reaching the final. That’s why Kyrgios is a -160 favorite in this match, despite being ranked 36 spots lower than him and having never been to a final at a major.

All things considered, it isn’t hard to see why the oddsmakers gave Kyrgios those odds. He has just reached new heights at this point in his career, and the sportsbooks are clearly very comfortable with bettors jumping on Nadal in this one. And that’s exactly what will happen when most bettors see the Spaniard hanging out there at plus-money. Don’t fall for that bait. We’ve already told you why backing Kyrgios is the better course of action in this match, and it’s just up to you to make the decision to go for it.

The Pick: Kyrgios To Win (-160)