Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios face off on Saturday afternoon in what should be a third round thriller, especially if Kyrgios turns up in the right frame of mind. He has always played well against the Big Four and Federer in particular. Federer has won two of their three meetings but each time, they have ended in a final set tiebreak.
Federer navigated a possible banana skin match with Benoit Paire in fairly comfortable fashion, coming out on top 7-5 6-4 6-4. The early rounds of slams often saw Federer utterly dominant on serve, often not even facing a break point on occasion. It wasn’t quite that easy for him as Paire did earn two breaks in defeat. I think it’s always tricky against Benoit, because I think one another, there’s a lot of tactics going on. Never quite the same point. That’s maybe why you draw errors out of each other rather than winners at the end.” he assessed. “But overall I’m happy. I think it was not a bad performance by any means by me.
Kyrgios once again courted controversy in his last match, this time due to the the “pep talk” he received from the umpire during his four set win over Pierre Hugues Herbert. He was down a set and break at that stage before flicking a switch and crushing the Frenchman 4-6 7-6 6-3 6-0. While Herbert is not the strongest of opponents, it does remain fascinating with the Australian that he can go from playing so badly to barely dropping a game against an opponent on a change of mood.
“I think his slice return, his chip return, is the best the game has ever seen. There has never been a better chip return ever. I think if you took that shot away, he wouldn’t be as good because he neutralizes big serves as well. He turns it into pretty much instant offense.” Kyrgios assessed when asked of Federer’s biggest strengths. That in particular should serve him well in this match, especially as it goes deeper with Kyrgios’ questionable stamina. A Kyrgios win requires a lights out serving performance he is well capable of but the longer the match goes, the less likely he is to win.
Prediction – Roger Federer in four sets