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Ricky’s Preview and Picks for the Melbourne Summer Set ATP 250: Nadal, Murray, Kyrgios in Action

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal during a practice session ahead of the Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, 02 January 2022. EPA-EFE/JOEL CARRETT AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

By Ricky Dimon

It’s a new year and to say that things are new in Melbourne, Australia would be a gross understatement.

The Melbourne Summer Set is a new ATP event, created to give players an opportunity to warm up for the Australian Open right in Melbourne — minimizing the demands of travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Rafael Nadal’s early arrival Down Under is also new, as he generally kicks off his season in Doha or just waits until the Australian Open.

Nadal will be playing an official match for the first time since the Washington, D.C. tour stop last summer, when a recurring foot injury ended his 2021 campaign. The 35-year-old Spaniard first started suffering from the problem at the French Open, where he lost a semifinal thriller against Novak Djokovic. Nadal’s status for the 2022 Australian summer remained in doubt after he lost matches to Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov at last month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, but he is already practicing in Melbourne and looks ready to go.

The top seed is joined in a strong field of 28 by Reilly Opelka, Grigor Dimitrov, and David Goffin–the other three players with first-round byes. If the seeds hold to form, it would be Nadal vs. Goffin and Opelka vs. Dimitrov in the semifinals. Benoit Paire, Ilya Ivashka, Dominik Koepfer, and Mackenzie McDonald round out the seeded contingent. Murray and Nick Kyrgios are among the wild-card entries, while Emil Ruusuvuori got in late as an alternate to further improve the draw.

First-round matchups to watch include Ivashka vs. Ruusuvuori and Botic Van de Zandschulp vs. Adrian Mannarino. Murray would run into Dimitrov in round two if the former world No. 1 defeats Facundo Bagnis in his opening match. Kyrgios vs. Goffin will be another intriguing second-rounder if the Aussie takes care of Alex Molcan in his opener.

Nadal will begin his 2022 season against either Marcos Giron or a qualifier.

Check out the full draw in PDF format on the ATP website


Quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal over Alexei Popyrin, Ilya Ivashka over David Goffin, Andy Murray over Botic Van de Zandschulp, and Reilly Opelka over Kevin Anderson

Semifinals: Nadal over Ivashka and Murray over Opelka

Final: Murray over Nadal

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.