Before each day's of play at the Australian Open, we'll preview and predict three must-see matches.
There are at least two hurdles you must clear to win a major title. First, you must be able to perform well in the tournament’s biggest arena. On Friday, with his four-set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kyrgios did that in Rod Laver Arena for the first time. Now he faces the second Slam hurdle; following up one impressive win over a high-level opponent with another. Dimitrov leads Kyrgios 2-1 in their head to head, and he won their most important match, in the finals of the Cincinnati Masters last summer. But Kyrgios won their most recent meeting, two weeks ago in Brisbane. Dimitrov is a more solid player than Tsonga at the moment, but if Kyrgios can find the same focus and resilience that he showed against the Frenchman, he has the shots to win. Winner: Kyrgios
Everything points to a Nadal win. In their three previous meetings, Rafa hasn’t lost a set. He’s ranked 26 spots higher than Schwartzman, and has been forced to play significantly less tennis over the past week—his three straight-set wins haven't take much more time to complete than the Argentine's four-hour first-round win over Dusan Lajovic, which went to 11-9 in the fifth set. Worst of all for Schwartzman, he’s not tall enough to do the one thing troubles Rafa most: take his topspin forehand on the rise and drive it through the court. But that doesn’t mean Schwartzman, who is a terrific ball-striker and competitor, won’t make it a match worth watching. Winner: Nadal
How, exactly, will Rybarikova win points against Wozniacki? She can’t overpower her, so she’ll have to use her biting slice and all-court acumen to make the ever-consistent Caro uncomfortable at the back of the court. History says it won’t be easy. Wozniacki leads their head to head 3-1, and she won their last three meetings. Australian Open history also says that, after saving two match points in her last round, Wozniacki may have destiny on her side. Two other recent Aussie women’s champions, Angelique Kerber and Li Na, also saved a match point early in their title run. Winner: Wozniacki
Read Joel Drucker and Nina Pantic on TENNIS.com as they report from the Australian Open, and watch them each day on The Daily Mix:
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