Kuala Lumpur R1 previews and picks: Kyrgios vs. Giraldo, Groth vs. Becker

Becker winsNick Kyrgios will kick off his Kuala Lumpur campaign on Monday against Santiago Giraldo. Opening day also features Sam Groth and Benjamin Becker.

(7) Nick Kyrgios vs. Santiago Giraldo

Kyrgios will be in action for the first time since losing to Andy Murray in round one of the U.S. Open when he takes the court on Monday in Kuala Lumpur. The 20-year-old Australian got left off his Davis Cup team for semifinal competition at Great Britain and the visitors lost 3-1. Kyrgios has not won a single match since his well-publicized Montreal affair with Stan Wawrinka and he has notched only a single win not counting retirements since Wimbledon.

Up first for Kyrgios is a second career meeting with Giraldo. Their only previous encounter came last summer in Toronto, where the younger competitor prevailed 7-6(3), 7-5. Giraldo will be playing in different conditions for a third straight appearance. The Colombian lost his opener at Flushing Meadows to Austin Krajicek (outdoor hard courts), went 1-1 in a Davis Cup playoff tie against Japan (clay), and now finds himself indoors. Neither player is in good form, but so many surfaces in such little time will not help Giraldo and Kyrgios should have an edge on a relatively fast court.

Pick: Kyrgios in 3

Sam Groth vs. Benjamin Becker

Big serves and short points will be the order of the day when Groth and Becker face each other for the first time in their careers. Becker is coming off a second-round performance in St. Petersburg, where he beat Andrey Golubev 6-4 in the third before falling to Denis Istomin by the same final-set score. The 34-year-old German is a disappointing 8-18 at the ATP level this season.

Making his fall-swing debut in 2015, Groth suited up for Davis Cup action following the U.S. Open and lost an epic five-set doubles rubber with Lleyton Hewitt to the Murray brothers in the Australia vs. Great Britain showdown. Groth is enjoying by far his best year on tour in singles and as of Sunday he registers one spot off his career-high ranking at 54th in the world. This should be Groth’s match to win or lose, and he will likely take care of business as long as he turns in even a decent serving performance.

Pick: Groth in 3

5 Comments on Kuala Lumpur R1 previews and picks: Kyrgios vs. Giraldo, Groth vs. Becker

  1. Wow Groth got a breadstick handed to him wow it’s probably cuz Becker got serves back and Groth just missed cuz he really only has a serve to be honest. Watching that guy live (I watched him in Atlanta against baghdatis) is the most horrible thing u just know if someone gets into the point against him he will lose it unless he gets a smash.

  2. One of the few times I’ve watched Groth was against Steve Johnson at the recent Winston Salem Open. On balance I dont much care for the brute strength school of tennis but that was an enjoyable match even though he looks more like a forward prop than a tennis player.

    Why did Giraldo retire? Did he get bored being muscled around the court?

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