Chengdu R2 previews and predictions: Kyrgios vs. Anderson, Troicki vs. Baghdatis

Doubles partners Nick Kyrgios and Viktor Troicki will be aiming for spots in the Chengdu quarterfinals on Thursday. Kyrgios is kicking off his campaign against Kevin Anderson, while Troicki is facing Marcos Baghdatis.

Kevin Anderson vs. (2) Nick Kyrgios

Kyrgios and Anderson will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they collide in round two of the Chengdu Open on Thursday. Even though Kyrgios’ 2016 campaign has been up and down on the court (and relatively controversy free off the court), he currently registers at a career-high ranking of No. 15 in the world. The 21-year-old had momentum heading into the U.S. Open following his second career ATP title in Atlanta and he dominated his first two matches in straight sets, but he was forced to retire against Illya Marchenko because of a hip injury. Kyrgios put those concerns mostly to rest when he helped his country get back in the Davis Cup World Group by winning a playoff rubber 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 over Slovakia’s Andrej Martin.

Anderson’s season has been stagnant since it began with a plethora of arm problems. The South African’s record stands at just 13-16 and it has him down at 45th in the rankings. He turned in a decent showing on the American hard courts, with a quarterfinal performance in Toronto and third-round showings at the Cincinnati Masters and U.S. Open. Anderson opened on Tuesday in Chengdu by disposing of Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-4. Kyrgios may take some time adjusting to conditions in his first match of the Asian swing, but he should be able to get the job done in a close one.

Pick: Kyrgios in 3

(6) Viktor Troicki vs. Marcos Baghdatis

Troicki and Baghdatis will be squaring off for the seventh time in their careers on Thursday. Baghdatis is leading the head-to-head series 5-1 (all on hard courts), including 4-1 at the ATP level. The two veterans most recently faced each other early this season in Dubai, where the Cypriot got the job done 7-6(2), 6-2. Troicki’s lone victory came via a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 decision in the 2010 St. Petersburg title match.
Troicki 4
Baghdatis survived rain-delayed thriller against an in-form Pablo Carreno Busta to advance to the Chengdu second round. Their showdown got pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday at 5-5 in the third set, after which Baghdatis ended up prevailing 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(5). The world No. 36 is now 24-18 for the year, which includes a recent fourth-round performance at the U.S. Open. Troicki benefited from a favorable opening-round draw and beat 17-year-old wild card Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-6(4) on Wednesday. The 32nd-ranked Serb is 27-23 for the season and coming off a quarterfinal finish in St. Petersburg (lost to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka). Unless Troicki enjoys another serving day like he turned against Ruud (17 aces and no double-faults), his struggles against Baghdatis should continue.

Pick: Baghdatis in 2

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