The Pick: Borna Coric vs. Nick Kyrgios, ATP Murray River Open

The Pick: Borna Coric vs. Nick Kyrgios, ATP Murray River Open

The Croat will aim to physically outlast Kyrgios in the Aussie's first tournament in nearly a year.

After two hard-fought wins in his first tournament in nearly a year, a refreshed Nick Kyrgios is set to face off against Borna Coric at the Murray River Open in Melbourne. Win or lose, it’s safe to expect plenty of fireworks with Kyrgios, so grab your popcorn, although Kyrgios may prefer you grab some peanuts. 

“I’ve lost enough money to these peanuts!” Kyrgios told court supervisor Cedric Mourier after receiving an unwarranted time-violation in the midst of his service motion against compatriot Harry Bourchier on Tuesday.

Kyrgios, prone to food-related insults, got into an off-season spat with Coric over his involvement in Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour. After a quick back and forth on Twitter, Kyrgios signed off by referring to Coric as a “peanut brain” for “comparing on court behavior to putting lives at risk.”

While Coric has seen the worst of Kyrgios on the internet, he’s certainly seen the best of him on the tennis court, and knows firsthand how dangerously talented the Australian can be.

Kyrgios, in the far court, delivered one of the hardest-hit forehands ever in his victory over the Croatian at the 2018 Western & Southern Open.

Here’s the incredible slap-shot from a different angle. 

Coric exacted some revenge in their next encounter, at the 2019 Miami Open, but not before Kyrgios executed one of the best shots of the year during a fun cat-and-mouse exchange. 

This time around, Coric should have the clear advantage both in the fitness and match-toughness department. It’s hard to say how much Kyrgios practiced over the off-season, but one can safely assume that Coric, who reached the St. Petersburg final in October, spent a few more hours on the court and in the gym. Expect Coric to work the corners and make this match as physical as possible. 

With his incredible serve and shot-making ability, Kyrgios is certainly the more dynamic player, and according to the oddsmakers this match is basically a pick-em, with Coric listed as a slight -125 favorite. But in the end, expect the Croatian to be the more solid player, and ultimately grind down Kyrgios with his discipline and consistency. 

The Pick: Borna Coric