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R. Nadal (ESP)
N. Kyrgios (AUS)
|R. Nadal (ESP) (1)||6||3||7(8)||7(7)|
|N. Kyrgios (AUS) ||3||6||6(6)||6(4)|
|Set won by R. Nadal||7(7) - 6(4)||R. Nadal leads 3 to 1|
|Set won by R. Nadal||7(8) - 6(6)||R. Nadal leads 2 to 1|
|Set won by N. Kyrgios||3 - 6||N. Kyrgios has tied the match at 1 set all|
|Set won by R. Nadal||6 - 3||R. Nadal leads 1 to 0|
As far as fourth rounds of Majors go, it doesn’t get much bigger than this. Under lights at Rod Laver Arena, Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal will go head to head with the winner into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 7pm (AEDT).
We have seen a different Nick Kyrgios in this Australian Open. Whether it’s because of the ATP Cup beforehand and his place again in the national team, or the emotions shown for the bushfire victims, he has emerged in Melbourne as a different player.
While he still displays his party tricks to the crowd, the Kyrgios we have seen is more committed and mentally stronger. The five-set epic win over Karen Khachanov was the perfect example of this.
Khachanov saved match points in the third and fourth sets before levelling the match at two-sets all. Most of Australia thought Kyrgios was gone. Even Nick thought he was going to lose. But he found something, and his game towards the end of the match tie break was exceptional. It was a win that can define careers.
To go further in his home Open though, he will have to defeat world no.1, Rafael Nadal. Nadal hasn’t looked like losing a set so far, dismantling fellow Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-1 6-2 6-4 in the third round.
That easy path may prove crucial, with Kyrgios spending three and a half more hours on the court than Nadal at this stage.
With a bit of an injury cloud hanging over Nick, this tips the odds in Nadal’s favour.
Head-to-head is close, with Nadal leading Kyrgios 4-3. Nadal won the last match at Wimbledon but Kyrgios won the last match on a hardcourt, beating Nadal 3-6 7-6 7-6 on his way to a title at Acapulco in 2019.
I’m leaning towards Nadal, purely because we have no evidence to show how Kyrgios recovers from the match on Saturday night. It just hasn’t happened to him before.
I’m hoping I’m wrong, but Nadal to win in four sets.
Time: 7pm (AEDT) – estimated time only. Match will start at 7pm or after Garbine Muguruza vs Kiki Bertens, whichever is later.
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Odds: Nadal $1.20, Kyrgios $4.00
Head-to-head: Nadal 4-3
Ranking: Nadal 1, Kyrgios 26
Career titles: Nadal 84, Kyrgios 6