By Jake Davies
- Kyle Edmund vs Matthew Barton [Q]
- Dan Evans vs Thiago Monteiro [Q]
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans kick off their Sydney Apia International campaigns against two qualifiers in the last stop before the Australian Open.
Kyle Edmund vs Matthew Barton [Q] H2H: First meeting
Kyle Edmund starts his Sydney campaign with a lot of renewed confidence and momentum following a Quarter-Final showing in Brisbane last week. His first test in Sydney will be Australian Matthew Barton, who not many people will know about. Barton is one of a long list of talented Australian players that has never really found a huge breakthrough on the ATP tour. When you watch him play you often wonder why he has not been ranked higher. He has an explosive forehand, which is by far his better wing. He looks to dictate the majority of the rallies with that forehand and he also has a notably effective serve that buys him a lot of free points.
Barton won his first ever Grand Slam main draw match at Wimbledon last year and took John Isner to five sets in the following round. He has some serious game, but has been offset by a number of niggling injuries over the years that have derailed his progress considerably.
The talented Australian has come through qualifying so will be feeling confident about the state of his game and will be elated at the prospect of challenging one of the bright young stars on the ATP tour.
For Edmund, this week is just about consolidating the good work that he did last week. The goal would be to continue to show promise going from week to week if the body manages to allow the player to do so. If the Briton gets a string of wins this week in Sydney then that puts him in a fantastic mindset going into the first major of the year.
Prediction: Edmund in three sets
Dan Evans vs Thiago Monteiro [Q] H2H: First meeting
Dan Evans, who will be playing his first competitive match of 2017, faces clay-courter Thiago Monteiro in his first match in Sydney. Monteiro rose to prominence with a historic win over No.9 ranked Jo- Wilfried Tsonga in last year’s tournament in the Rio Open. It was one of the biggest upsets in tennis in 2016 as Monteiro was ranked just No.338 in the world and was playing his first ever ATP main draw match.
Monteiro has grown into a much better player on the ATP tour as he sits inside the World’s Top 90 now, but I still feel Evans will come out on top in this particular encounter. The left-handed Brazilian enjoys directing his serve out wide, but Evans should be able to stave off that pressure with his backhand slice. The effectiveness of Evans’ slice on that side will influence whether he wins or loses this match against the Brazilian.
Prediction: Evans in two sets.
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