One of the main favorites to possibly dispute Novak Djokovic’s superiority in Melbourne, World No. 3 Dominic Thiem of Austria will first have to deal with the Australian bad-boy Nick Kyrgios when they go head-to-head at John Cain Arena on Friday.
This will be their first ever meeting on hard courts and the second ever, with Dominic Thiem emerging victorious from their round of 16 tie at 2015 Open de Nice Côte d’Azur (clay), when Nick Kyrgios retired during the first set due to a right elbow injury, while the Austrian went on to win his first career title.
The winner of their clash will advance to face either No. 15 seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain or 18 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the fourth round.
Dominic Thiem Betting Preview
Some months after his first Grand Slam title, Dominic Thiem returned to Melbourne Park and would fancy his chances to win the highly competitive and prestigious tournament.
While Thiem was impressing year after year but wasn’t mature enough to defeat Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay himself, at the Roland Garros, many were expecting the Austrian to eventually triumph at the French Open sooner or later, and he probably surprised many people with his sudden breakthrough on hard courts last year.
Remarkably, Thiem never made it through the fourth round of the Australian Open until his brilliant performance last season and the Austrian was only one set away from winning the title when he earned a 2-1 lead in a spectacular five-setter against Novak Djokovic.
It was an important lesson and a glimmer of hope that he can eventually succeed and the 27-year-old Austrian took advantage of the circumstances to finally scoop a Grand Slam title at the 2020 US Open.
Although he failed to impress at last year’s French Open, suffering a surprising defeat to Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the quarter-finals, Thiem wrapped up a memorable 2020 season with his performance at the ATP Finals in London where he defeated the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, but then lost in the showdown against Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Thiem started the new season with Team Austria at the ATP Cup where his performance wasn’t really convincing, yet most of you probably remember that he also failed to impress in 2020 but then he carelessly went on to beat six opponents, including the likes of Rafael Nadal and Sascha Zverev, en route to the Australian Open final.
The 2021 Australian Open draw awarded him a first round clash against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin and after a first-set tie-break, Thiem gained momentum to earn a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 win and to secure a second round match with Germany’s Dominik Koepfer.
He was absolutely ruthless to make his way into the third round, dismantling his German opponent in just 93 minutes on Margaret Court Arena and will hope to carry over his form on John Cain Arena when he goes on the court to face the local favorite on Friday.
Nick Kyrgios Betting Preview
We’ve already reviewed Kyrgios’ form and once again reminded his wild nature in our preview for his clash against Ugo Humbert.
Following an easy 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Portuguese qualifier Frederico Ferreira Silva in the opening round, the 25-years-old Australian was involved in a heart-stopping five-setter against 29 seed Ugo Humbert and saved two match points against the Frenchman to complete a remarkable comeback.
The 25-year-old Canberran looked doomed for a second-round exit when Humbert served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set. However, Inspired by a passionate, roaring crowd at John Cain Arena, Kyrgios saved two match points and produced a great escape for a second year in a row.
Nick Kyrgios won another epic five-setter in last year’s third round, when the Aussie overcame Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 6-7(7), 7-6(8) in four hours and 26 minutes.
His reward on that occasion was a matchup with the 2009 champion Rafael Nadal, while this year, he will face the 2020 runner-up Dominic Thiem which could represent quite an opportunity and experience for the Australian hopes.
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
Kyrgios’ unpredictability is what makes him an opponent you don’t want to face, especially so early in a competition. However, Thiem will have to prepare for a heated match against a player who has proven to be a tricky, tricky enemy, and has the ability to cause trouble.
Besides, Thiem already had some difficulties at the Australian Open when he left the race as early as in the second round just two years ago, when he retired during the third set of his clash against an Aussie – Alexei Popyrin – and the youngster was already 7-5, 6-4, 2-0 ahead when the Austrian ‘waved the white flag’.
Even though the bookies are backing Thiem to win at odds of -440, we don’t expect a stroll at Melbourne Park for the Austrian against a confident Nick Kyrgios who gained momentum just at the right moment. Indeed, Kyrgios is not the type of an unseeded player you would really want to play.
Spooky Express Free Play: Over 38½ Games -117 @ BetOnline for 6/10 Units