By Jake Davies

  • Nick Kyrgios [14] vs Andreas Seppi H2H: Kyrgios leads 2-0
  • Kei Nishikori [5] vs Jeremy Chardy H2H: Nishikori leads 4-2
  • Jack Sock [23] vs Karen Khachanov H2H: First meeting
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – After an impressive looking start, Australia’s big hope Nick Kyrgios leads our Three to See for Day Three, at the Australian Open.

 

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Nick Kyrgios [14] vs Andreas Seppi H2H: Kyrgios leads 2-0

The best is yet to come for Nick Kyrgios, who struggled to make a lasting impact in any of the majors last season, but now has to start showing greater application and maturity on a regular basis on the big stage. Kyrgios currently sits outside the Top 10 and could even break the Top 10 this fortnight in Melbourne if he delivers a few impressive results against some of the other seeds like Marin Cilic and Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who are both in his section of the draw.

Kyrgios was a comfortable victor over Portugal’s Gastao Elias in the first round but now faces a much more experienced player in Andreas Seppi in the second round. The two played each other in Melbourne back in 2015, where they played an absolute classic. Kyrgios held a two set lead over the Italian, Seppi rallied back to take it to a fifth set and Kyrgios eventually prevailed 8-6 in the fifth set. The atmosphere was electric and Kyrgios did not disappoint in that match.

Kyrgios leads the head-to-head and has the firepower to unlock the game of Seppi. If Kyrgios is healthy then he should win this match in style.

Prediction: Kyrgios in four sets

 

Kei Nishikori [5] vs Jeremy Chardy H2H: Nishikori leads 4-2

The second of our must-watch matches sees Kei Nishikori face Jeremy Chardy. The two players would both be content with the start they have made to the 2017 season. Nishikori made the finals in Brisbane, beating Stanislas Wawrinka along the way, while Chardy lost in the Quarter-Finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland, which is a very good result for him. He lost to the eventual champion Jack Sock.

Nishikori heads into this match as favourite. The Japanese star has won all the previous meetings against Chardy on a hard court, but Chardy has played well at Melbourne in the past and loves the conditions. He scored his best grand slam win when he beat No.7 Juan Martin Del Potro in the third round in 2013. That tournament was the first and only time Chardy has made the Quarter-Final of a major, so he has positive memories and feelings for the first tournament of the season.

Nishikori’s shotmaking from the back of the court can be relentless at times as he tries to take as much time away from his opponent as possible. I think Nishikori will be the more solid of the two from the baseline and should come through in three sets.

Prediction: Nishikori in three sets

 

Jack Sock [23] vs Karen Khachanov H2H: First meeting

It has taken quite some time to see the real enhancements and improvements in Karen Khachanov‘s tennis career, but the Russian has now started to fulfil some of the early promise at the Grand Slams. His most notable result when he started appearing on the tour came in 2013, where he beat Janko Tipsarevic in the Kremlin Cup as a 17-year-old.

Since then, Khachanov has gone on to win his first ATP title in Chengdu and now is placed neatly inside the Top 60 of the Men’s Game. The most impressive part of the Russian’s game is his clarity in footwork at such a great height. He stands at 6 ft 6, but glides around the court comfortably for a man of that stature.

His opponent is the current ASB Classic winner Sock, who now looks a promising player on both the singles and doubles ATP circuit. The pace and spin that he can generate off the forehand side is really tremendous to watch as no other ATP player creates as much spin on that shot as Sock does. The American is in the form of his life and should beat the Russian in a tight second round match.

Prediction: Sock in five sets

 

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