Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Tour 2020: Australian Open Preview

ATP Tour 2020: Australian Open Preview

ATP Tour 2020: Australian Open Preview - Round of 64

We take a look at the selected round of 64 matches from the ATP Tour's Australian Open taking place at Melbourne Park. 

ATP Tour 2020 | Australian Open | Melbourne Park
Selected Round of 64 Matches - 22 January 2020

Stefanos Tsitsipas (1/10)  
vs Phillip Kohlschreiber (52/10)
The stars seem to possibly be aligning for a new Grand Slam Champion this week. Stefanos Tsisipas was inspired en route to last year’s semi-final. It seemed to herald the arrival of a real successor to the ‘Big Three’. He enjoyed a commanding year on the tour proper but failed to really make an impression in the remaining Grand Slams. But the Greek heartthrob won his most significant title yet in closing 2019, winning the prestigious ATP Finals. I think that victory will go a long way to instilling the necessary self-belief to make that Grand Slam breakthrough. Tsitsipas absolutely demolished a hapless Caruso in the opening match. Egged on by fanatical support- Melbourne is home to a considerable Greek community- the Greek star looked flawless in his opening match. Tsitsipas will want to cement his reputation as the heir apparent to tennis supremacy. He will be facing a 2nd round opponent with no shortage of experience.

Phillip Kohlschreiber is an eight-time ATP Single’s champion with the ability to upset anyone on his day. But it does seem as if the legs are starting to catch up on the 36-year-old German. He generally trudged through the doldrums in 2019, only really tasting success towards the end of the year in less illustrious events. He reached the semi-finals of the Firenze Tennis Cup before capturing the Challenger event in Canberra. But on the tour proper it has been some time since the German has tasted success on hardcourts: he last reached a final of a hardcourt event in the 2013 Auckland Open. Kohlschreiber is an all-court specialist, evidenced by the fact that he has reached at least the fourth round of all four slams. Kohlschreiber is a crafty character who will look to offset Tsitsipas’ power-based baseline game. He will look to use his drop shot effectively to disrupt the Greek’s flow. 

This will be their third-ever meeting, with Tsitsipas holding all the cards at 2-0. Tsitsipas looks commanding at present and will get through this challenge with ease. The Greek to win in straight sets at looks the only prudent option here at 15/20. 

Dan Evans (11/20) 
Yoshihito Nishioka (13/10)
With Andy Murray withdrawing from the Aussie Open, current British Number One Dan Evans will carry the faint flame of British expectation in the men’s side of the draw. Evans has actually started the season in decent nick, including his excellent form during the ATP Cup. He followed that up creditable quarterfinal run at the inaugural Adelaide event. He lost in a nail-biting three-set encounter against current hot property Andrey Rublev. Evans reached his second-ever ATP Final last year at the Delray Beach Classic. Evans is a hardcourt specialist who also happens to have some positive juju in this side of the world. His first ATP Final came in a 2017 defeat in the Sydney International final. His best-ever Grand Slam result came in the 2017 Aussie Open, where the pugnacious Englishman powered his way into the fourth round.

It has long since been Kei Nishikori and Nishikori alone who has harnessed the hope of Japanese tennis fans.  But the emergence of Naomi Osaka- regardless of her inability to even speak Japanese- has given the great nation unforeseen success on the world stage. Now it’s time for another man to emerge to potentially replace Nishikori in the future. 24-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka could be that man. There was a moment of special significance at last year’s Cincinnati Masters. Nishioka beat Nishikori en route to a decent quarterfinal finish. The 2018 Shenzhen Open Champion is at the stage where its time to deliver. He started the season in decent form, beating both Cuevas and Basilashvili at the ATP Cup.  He ploughed through Dere in the first round and should present Dan Evans with some difficulties.

Nishioka actually leads Dan Evans 2-0 in the head-to-head stakes. Their last meeting was an absolute procession at last year’s Citi Open in Washington. So, I think there’s some value in backing the Japanese victory here.  

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