10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s preview and picks for Day 4 of the Australian Open: Medvedev vs. Kyrgios and Dimitrov vs. Paire

Nick Kyrgios will take on world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open second round. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

By Ricky Dimon

The marquee matchup of round two at the Australian Open pits Daniil Medvedev against Nick Kyrgios on Thursday. Two other entertainers are also taking the court, as Grigor Dimitrov Dimitrov faces Benoit Paire.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the second-round matchups on Day 4 of the year’s first Grand Slam.

Nick Kyrgios vs. (2) Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev and Kyrgios will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they clash in the Australian Open second round on Thursday. Both of their previous encounters have gone Kyrgios’ way; 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the 2019 Rome Masters and 7-6(6), 7-6(4) a few months later in the Washington, D.C. title match.

Fast forward three years and there is little reason to think things will be the same now. Not even a favorable setting in front of a raucous Australian crowd is likely to save Kyrgios, who has played sparingly on tour since the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020. The world No. 115 had not played an official match since the 2021 U.S. Open and had not won one since Atlanta until he beat Liam Broady 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday. Medvedev will obviously be a much tougher opponent; the second-ranked Russian finished runner-up last year in Melbourne and he won the U.S. Open. This is a fun matchup on paper; it is unlikely to deliver much on the court.

Pick: Medvedev in 3

Grigor Dimitrov will face Frenchman Benoit Paire in round two. EPA-EFE/JAMES ROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

(26) Grigor Dimitrov vs. Benoit Paire

The Australian Open has been Dimitrov’s most successful and certainly most consistent Grand Slam throughout his career. The 30-year-old Bulgarian has reached at least the quarterfinals on four occasions–all in his last eight trips Down Under. That includes a semifinal run in 2017 and he made it back to the quarters last season before being plagued by a back injury during a loss to Aslan Karatsev. Dimitrov is coming off a semifinal performance at an ATP 250 event in Melbourne and he opened on Tuesday with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Jiri Lehecka.

Up next for Dimitrov on Thursday is Paire, who leads the head-to-head series 3-1 (2-1 at the ATP level). Those numbers hardly matter, though, because they have not faced each other since 2015. Paire has been a complete disaster dating back to the start of the pandemic, and he had been 0-2 this season before outlasting Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in the Aussie Open first round. It’s hard to see the Frenchman producing two decent performances in a row–especially when his next opponent is in fine form and has a history of success Down Under.

Pick: Dimitrov in 3

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.