There is the potential for a Monday night classic under the Rod Laver Arena lights when Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal face off a spot in the quarter-finals. Kyrgios hopes to make just his third slam quarter-final following Wimbledon 2014 and Australian Open 2015, something that comes as a bit of a disappointment given his clear talent.
Kyrgios was cruising at two sets up in his third round against Karen Khachanov but just couldn’t close out the match in three or four despite having match points in both sets of the 6-2 7-6 6-7 6-7 7-6. He was just two points on the Khachanov serve away from defeat in the final set super tiebreak, winning three straight from 7-8 down to move on. “That was definitely one of the craziest matches I’ve ever been a part of. It was insane,” said Kyrgios. “Had a match point in the third, a match point in the fourth. Then 8/7 down, I had all the thoughts. I thought I was going to lose. I was thinking about everything… It was crazy.”
Nadal was once against dominant in victory as he advanced to the fourth round with the minimum of fuss by defeating Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4. His fellow Spaniard had very few chances and did not get a single break point opportunity. His service games have rarely been troubled this tournament and it provides a solid foundation for everything else Nadal is great at. “It’s my best match of the tournament without a doubt,” Nadal said. “Today I did very well with my serve and started to hit some good forehands down the line, which is a key shot for me.”
This is a matchup that has given Nadal trouble in the past with their Wimbledon classic in 2014 the most memorable of the seven they have played. The Spaniard will hope to extend the head to head to 5-3 against an opponent who should be tired after a lengthy third round match. Kyrgios’ booming serve and an electric home crowd may see an adrenaline boost initially but it would be tough to see him having enough to grind out a victory against the World No.1. “I’m super excited, honestly. Playing one of the greatest tennis players on centre court at your own Slam, it’s pretty damn cool,” Kyrgios said.. “I’ve got a lot of time between now and then. Obviously, it’s going to be another physical battle. Nothing comes easy with him. He had a relatively routine match today, so he’s going to be feeling good. I’m looking forward to it. That’s why you play.”
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in four sets