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2017 Brisbane International
Men's Singles, 1st Round
Jordan Thompson vs Jared Donaldson
With just two weeks to go until the Australian Open kicks off, arguably the country’s most popular male tennis player will be looking to get 2018 off to the brightest possible start when Jordan Thompson takes on American rising star Jared Donaldson at the Brisbane International. Join The Roar for live scores and minute-by-minute updates from 8pm (AEDT).
While much of the media spotlight is drawn to Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, and lately for all the wrong reasons, 24-year old Thompson quietly went about cementing his top-100 ranking in a career-best 2017.
It was a year that started with a maiden ATP title in the doubles at last year’s Brisbane International with compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, peaked with a stunning win over then-World No.1 Andy Murray at Queen’s Club in the lead up to Wimbledon, and along the way saw him twice reach the second round in the Grand Slams, including at Melbourne Park.
At 23, Thompson should be closing in on the peak of his tennis career, and while his current ATP ranking of No. 94 signifies a slide from his peak of 63rd in the world in February last year, he is primed and ready to take the Australian tennis season head-on.
He’s got tennis royalty in his court as well, with Pat Rafter and Tony Roche among those who have worked extensively with Thompson in the last few years, and with Lleyton Hewitt set to partner him in the doubles in Brisbane, you couldn’t ask for a more impressive support group.
Like Thompson, American opponent Jared Donaldson also enjoyed a career-best 2017, and while the 21-year old hasn’t yet saluted at a World Tour event just yet, he enjoys an impressive ranking of No. 54.
That was made possible by an excellent run of form mid-year, during which he reached the third rounds at Wimbledon and the US Open, in the latter knocking out 16th seed Lucas Pouille, while making the quarter-finals as a wildcard at the Cincinnati Masters, with world No.20 Roberto Bautista Agut among his scalps.
He might have won just 1 of his past 10 games, including three straight defeats at the Next Gen Finals in November against some of his fellow young stars, but his ranking alone shows that Donaldson is going to be a seriously good player in the years to come.
Pretty much the definition of a coin-toss call, both these players will be looking to take the next step up in 2018, but as of January 1, whether they will attain those heights is anyone’s guess. In front of a home crowd, however, and with an excellent record in Australia, Thompson might just have his nose in front.
Thompson to win 2 sets to 1 in a tight contest.
Can Thompson get his 2018 off to the perfect start with a home win? Or will the young American Donaldson spoil the party and take the points for the stars and stripes?
Tune into The Roar’s live coverage of the first round of the Brisbane International from 8pm (AEDT), and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.