Australian Open R1 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Estrella Burgos, Kyrgios vs. Dutra Silva

Rafael Nadal will kick off his Australian campaign when he takes the court against Victor Estrella Burgos on Monday. The opening slate of matches also features Aussie contender Nick Kyrgios, who is going up against Rogerio Dutra Silva.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Victor Estrella Burgos

Nadal and Estrella Burgos will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they clash in round one of the Australian Open on Monday night. It is a favorable draw for Nadal, just as his entire road through the bracket is not a difficult one. The world No. 1’s Melbourne fate will likely be determined by his own performance–or more specifically to his lingering knee issue. He was forced out of the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals after one match also pulled out from scheduled appearances earlier this season in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane. Recent signs, however, have been encouraging. Nadal has played well enough at Kooyong, in the Tie Break Tens event, and in practices to suggest that he may be in line for a second consecutive trip to the Aussie Open title match.

Estrella Burgos has not won an ATP-level match since round one of the 2017 French Open and he has not defeated anyone inside the top 100 at an ATP tournament since last February in Quito. The 81st-ranked Dominican Republic native got blown out by Richard Gasquet 6-0, 6-2 in his Doha opener and he is coming off a 6-2, 6-2 setback against Andreas Seppi in the Canberra Challenger semifinals. Assuming Nadal is close to 100 percent, there is no reason to think Estrella Burgos will be competitive.

Pick: Nadal in 3 losing 8-10 games

(17) Nick Kyrgios vs. Rogerio Dutra Silva

Kyrgios is looking like a serious title contender after beginning his season by lifting the Brisbane trophy, taking down world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in the process. The 17th-ranked Australian, however, has been a borderline disaster at Grand Slams since reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne three years ago–one year after advancing to the same stage at Wimbledon. He is just 11-8 at majors in the last two seasons with no trips past the fourth round, including losses in the third round (2016) and second round (2017) of the Australian Open.

Up first for Kyrgios on Monday is Dutra Silva, whom the 22-year-old has never faced. Dutra Silva is making his second main-draw appearance in Melbourne after falling in round two last year (he has never advanced past the last 64 at any major). The 100th-ranked Brazilian successfully qualified this past week in Auckland before succumbing to Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-2. Especially on a relatively fast hard court, Kyrgios should have absolutely no trouble with the underdog.

Pick: Kyrgios in 3 losing 11 games or less

79 Comments on Australian Open R1 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Estrella Burgos, Kyrgios vs. Dutra Silva

        • Rafa to win is at 1.01 😂😂😂!
          This people are crazy.
          N. Kyrgios to win at 1.01.

          Victor Estrella Burgos to win 12.50.
          Rogerio Dutra Silva to win at 12.00 odds.

          • Stan, the bettors will hit a lottery if they bet huge on the Below dogs at the below odds and WIN!

            Victor Estrella Burgos (BURGER) to win 12.50.
            Rogerio Dutra Silva to win at 12.00 odds.

            Nadal is INJURED (knee) and RUSTed and his movement is compromised. And at the start of the 2018 season esp. in a big event like this even big FAV’s like Nadal and Fed are prone to upsets. Besides hard is NOT Nadal’s FAV surface.

            Will drop a few small $$$ on Victor Estrella Burgos (BURGER) +1.5 sets and Over (same with Rogerio Dutra Silva) , just for fun sake!lol…as you never know and upsets can happen especially when the conditions for an upset are ripe ie., 1) INJURY(KNEE) 2) RUST 3) HARD not the FAV surface but CLAY for Nadal!lol

            Even Kyrgios/CURIyos can be upset by ANYONE @ANYTIME )All are welcome!lol) (esp. by a game Rogerio Dutra Silva) as CURIyos is highly unpredictable. Especially if Kyrgios has had a fight with his long-time ON and OFF girlfriend Ajla Tomaljanovic before the match!Ha,ha,ha……

            Who likes the BURGER & ROGER(licious)IO Dutra Silva now?!

            Like the Verizon Ad says “Can you hear me now?!”Ha,ha,ha…

  1. I just thought I would give a heads up that the tennis channel will be showing an encore presentation of the 2009 AO final with Rafa and Fed. My personal favorite slam final win for Rafa.

    For a long time I had it recorded. But at some point it got deleted. I am watching it for sure! I will also record it again!

  2. NativeNewYorker its available to buy on DVD, i agree its a fantastic match, i loved the semi between Rafa and Dasco, that was even better IMO, really felt for Dasco after that match, to be fair i think he shouldve won, but i doubt very much we wouldve had such a competitive final between him and Federer ….

    • Alison,

      I should have thought of that! Thanks for the reminder!

      The semifinal was torture to watch. Quality wise it was a better match, but this final has always been very special for me. On paper there was no way Rafa wins that match! Even seeing it again after all this time, I am still amazed at Rafa pulling it off.

      Truly one of the great feats,

    • Rafa – or his designers – seems to be curiously attracted to the color pink, since he sports a combination with pink quite often. I wonder why, because as far as I can recall, Rafa has never won a slam in a pink outfit, lol!

        • Mira Andi, the sleeveless shirt I don’t mind. I like them on some other players as well. It’s not a question of age.
          But I was never overly fond of many of Rafa’s color choices and I really don’t like this shade of pink.
          I like Rafa best when he’s wearing all white in Wimbledon, or when he’s wearing all black or grey like at the USO. For me it has a more serious or more menacing quality – like “Don’t mess with me!”

        • Augusta, true, but he also had a night outfit which I liked much better. But, you are right, he won the trophy in pink! I even remarked at the the time that he had overcome the pink handycap, lol!

            • Augusta, yes, you’re right. I remember now that I was pleased to see he was wearing his night outfit during the final. I’m not really supersticious but as I said above I love his grey, black or white outfits much better. Just my personal taste. Many like his vividly colored outfits just fine…
              So, he won some matches at the USO while wearing pink – but not the final. So, he still needs to clear that hurdle and win a slam final in pink, lol!

            • littlefoot says AT 2:16 PM: “So, he still needs to clear that hurdle and win a slam final in pink, lol!”
              Fedfans have kept repeating this since RG 2009…

            • Augusta, yes, some Fed fans who have a slighty supersticious mind set sure love Rafa’s pink outfits, lol!
              I’m not overly fond of them myself. I’d like to hear other opinions, though. Mira Andi says she likes it. What about other members of the Grandstand community here?

            • littlefoot AT 9:33 PM,

              No, Fed fans are not supersticios, constantly reminding people that Rafa wore a pink shirt at RG2009 is part of their anti-Rafa campaign. They are still hugely happy about his loss and they keep reminding it.
              BTW, I have always felt that Fedfans’ anti-Rafa campaign is coordinated by professional propagandists.

        • I don’t happen to like that particular shade of pink. Someone on VB compared it to pepto bismol! I think that person was right!

          Rafa wore a more flattering shade of pink at the USO. I know he likes color and I like seeing him in colors. But there are some shades of pink that I do not like and this is one of them. Also I don’t get why he is wearing a very light gray shirt. That’s not color. I do like the sleeveless look back again.

          I would have liked to see a real color for his shirt. Or at least a darker shade of gray. I liked his gray outfit at the USO in 2013.

          • NNY, Peptobismol, lol! Not a bad comparison. I also liked the pink from the USO much better. I think the grey shirt by itself isn’t so bad, but IMO it doesn’t work in combination with this shade of pink.
            But enough about this. As long as Rafa plays well, it doesn’t matter.

  3. How did Rafa play, score is very lopsided. But did he get good practice ? With Isner gone, Rafa’s draw is not that bad. I think Fed’s draw is easy as well.

    • Rafa played okay today fedexal…in general i am very satisfied with his play..very confident but sometimes i wish he would use DTL shots more often…and shorten the point..but he seems just content to rally..maybe because he want to hit the balls as many as he could just to sharpen his shots..

      Got a good practice?Oh yeah!…Even tho the scores was very lopsided but Burgos really gave Rafa a very stern test..he’s all over the court!and sometimes hit an amazing winner’s from everywhere…

      • Thank you for your insights on the match,unfortunately I couldn’t watch it,but I’m pleased to know that Rafa pulled the win without major issues 😊
        What’s your assessment regarding the Rod Laver Arena court speed? I heard that it’s playing faster than last year and the court’s skidding a lot more,is that true?

        • Hey Gaviria…sorry u can’t watch Rafa’s was a very satisfying match..and thank God!He passed his knee test today!…Very relief to see him play without trouble & free..

          About court speed..yeah..i read too that the court will give the advantage to the big hitter’s or aggressive player’s who likes to hit the ball much flatter…Rafa seems not having much problem with the court speed today.and he’s only made 10/12 UE’s & winner’s 24…I guess we have to wait until he meet with Leonardo Mayer who’s got a very dangerous backhand with much flatter shots compared to Burgos to assess more about the court…

          • Thanks for informing us, Mira Andi. I didn’t have time for watching the whole match – it was over too fast, lol! But apparently Rafa’s performance was pretty encouraging. As to the court speed: I guess it’s the same as last year. Why should they change it? But Rafa did just fine last year, so he knows how to deal with it. Last year he also won against some tall big hitters like Raonic and Zverev. I think if everything is normal he should reach the quarterfinal. Borna Coric who is also a big hitter in his section is already eliminated. If Rafa reaches the quarterfinal, then the next matches will probably become far more complicated. Hopefully Rafa will have found his groove by then.

          • Just checked the highlights and yeah,Rafa played well,very solid from the baseline,serving very well and moving with no problems at all! Hopefully he can play more agressively with his forehand as he advances in the tournament.
            Regarding the court speed,I felt like the conditions are actually very close to last year,but I got the impression that the bounce is lower.

  4. Rafa’s post match interview

    Q. How did you feel about the game tonight? Where do you see any areas in which you’d like to improve?
    RAFAEL NADAL: Happy for the start, of course. Is a positive start with a good result. If I do months without playing official match is always a little bit more difficult.

    But I started with positive feelings. That’s most important thing for me now. Of course, there is things to improve. But the thing that I need to improve, the matches will give me that things, no?

    Victories are the most important thing now.

    Q. How is your body feeling?
    RAFAEL NADAL: Good. If I don’t feel myself ready, I will not be here. So I am happy to be here, happy that I’m on court again. Last year have been a long, very good but long season. So yeah, let’s start another one and try to don’t think much about what happened the year before.

    Q. Your knee felt good tonight, didn’t have any problems at all?
    RAFAEL NADAL: No problems. No problems.

    Q. Did you have any doubts going into the match or were you confident you were fully there?
    RAFAEL NADAL: I always have doubts. I said hundred times, I believe that the doubts are good because when you have doubts, it’s because you aren’t too arrogant, because you have respect for your opponent, because you have respect for the game, and because you don’t consider yourself unbelievable good.

    The real thing is I always have doubts, but at the same time I have the confidence that I was ready to start the tournament. That was the case.

    Through to second round. That’s a positive thing for me. I am looking forward to play the next match.

    Q. You’re now No. 1 in the world. What would you have thought if I said to you this time last year you were going to be No. 1 in the world?
    RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was difficult to imagine after all the things that happened. Being realistic, I had very positive feelings last year at the beginning of the season. I started playing so well here. I could not imagine to be No. 1, but I had good hopes to play a good season. That’s my feelings.

    Q. Do you have to pinch yourself sometimes to realize where you are? Is it a reality check?
    RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I don’t need to reality check. I know where I am. I really appreciate that. At the same time I don’t think much about all these kind of things, no? I just think about try to be ready for the next tournament, for the next practice. I am not thinking all day, Oh, how good I am, I’m No. 1 of the world. No, is not the case.

    I just go day by day. I know in sport, in general, the things changes so quick. You need to be ready to accept all the challenges that’s not going to happen.

    Today you are here, the next day or a couple of months you are here (high to low). Sometimes you here and then you are here, like last year (low to high). Is part of the sport life.

    The most important thing is just enjoy and keep having the passion and the motivation to keep working hard, to be where I am today.

    Q. We heard a little bit about the players meeting on Friday. Do you think a separate players union is a good idea?
    RAFAEL NADAL: Every year here in Australia, there is talks about new things. There is always an issue here in Australia, no? I really believe that there is plenty of time later on the year to speak about things. But now is the moment, for me personally, to play tennis, to play tennis and to try my best on court. That’s all really. I really focus on this.

    Q. Was it odd for you to be out on the court this evening and not seeing your uncle Toni in the players box at any moment?
    RAFAEL NADAL: Toni was not always on the box. It’s true that in the Grand Slams he was here all the time. But in plenty of tournaments, he was not there.

    Strange or not? I cannot think about all day that. I just have to move forward, believe in the team I have. I feel lucky I have Carlos today in my box, and the rest of the team that is a huge support.

    Toni is the most important person in my career, everybody knows. I can’t thank him enough for all the things. But today he is not here. He’s doing a great job in my tennis academy, no? Just can say thanks to him for that, too.

    But today I have to think about the team that is here. I am happy with it.

    Q. You had a nice exchange with Victor at the net after the match. Was it strange playing someone who has been on the tour for a long time for the first time?
    RAFAEL NADAL: I know him well. We played a good exhibition a few years ago in Puerto Rico. He’s a good friend. He’s a great guy. He has an amazing story of his career. He’s a person that everybody love him on tour.

    I was happy that I had the chance to play with him.

    Q. A moment ago you mentioned your motivation for the game. What keeps you motivated?
    RAFAEL NADAL: Because I love the tennis and I love the competition in general. I love playing in the biggest and more historic courts of our tour. I appreciate all these kind of things, no?

    That motivates me. Every day for me is a good motivation to go on court in front of a great crowd here in Australia, in Rod Laver Arena. That’s really special feelings, no?

    I know this is not forever. I want to enjoy all the moments that I have the chance to spend on this historic stadiums. That’s what I am doing: enjoy every moment, and try to give me chances to keep playing in these places, with chances couple more years.

    Q. If you had the chance to talk to yourself 20 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
    RAFAEL NADAL: I think I was lucky enough to have the right people around me. I believe all the advices I received from my family, my father, my mother, my uncle, the team, I really believe I had the right people around me. I don’t think I needed myself 20 years ago.

    • Thanks, Nadline. God, I love this man. I can’t help it. Nice exchange at the net with VEB who had a really great attitude. Rafa moved really well, I thought, throughout the match.

    • Yes, thanks a lot, Nadine. Great interview! I like how Rafa said that he played with Estrella-Burgos – not against him. And I really respect that Estrella-Burgos tried hard to get that one break at the end of the second set. He knew perfectly well that he had no chance at all to win this match, but he respected Rafa and the audience, and kept trying. Nice for him that he eventually succeeded to get that one break. Probably better for Rafa, too, because he was challenged at least for a moment.

    • I did get to see the match. Allergy problems woke me up and I was able to see it live.

      I try not to analyze the very first match too much. What I took away most of all was how well Rafa moved in the match. There seemed to be no problem with the knee. That was the best thing for me.

      It’s hard to judge a match when the opponent is really not able to make it competitive. Estrella Burgos did his best and managed to finally break Rafa at one point. He had a good attitude and did his best. For Rafa it was a chance to get previous match play. Winning the first match after being out with an injury has to be a good feeling for Rafa. There are some great Rafa vintage shots in the match that the crowd loved.

      Rafa is going to have more of a challenge in his next match with Mayer. But he looked good enough in this first match.

      The ESPN commies were talking about Rafa’s good draw. JMac said he thinks he’s good to at least get to the quarterfinals.

      As long as the knee is okay, then all is good.

      Vamos Rafa!

  5. Courts looking a little slower than last year but still fast.
    Moya on Rafa’s R1 win:”Things have gone as planned considering it’s the 1st match of the year after some time w/o playing. Of course you can always improve, but he just needs matches to get into competition rhythm. If he passes 2-3 rounds he’ll look at the tournament differently”

    • That’s interesting comments from Moya. I like what he said about if Rafa passes 2-3 rounds, he’ll look at the tournament differently. Once Rafa gets a few matches and wins under his belt, he will feel differently.

  6. I hope Nadal gets over his injuries, and regain his confidence.Then we’ll see how mentally strong he really is!
    Matchups with Kyrgios,Dimitrov and of course Fed are mouthwatering .

  7. Not a match previewed here, but wow did Berdych play amazing in beating de Minaur. Last two sets he seemed to hit every ball as hard as he could and didn’t miss. I Incredible tennis, maybe the best I’ve ever seen him play. It would be great to see him keep it up and have that level later in the tournament.

    • Joe, I really like Berdych. It would be great if he manages to play a satisfying AO. As to De Minaur: it was probably too early for him to make an impact. And Berdych isn’t exactly a no-name player.

      • True, but I didn’t think de Minaur was playing badly. The crowd was totally behind him and he was pretty fired up whenever he won a point. But Berdych was relentless.

        Plus, he seems to have grown his hair out and was wearing a baseball cap backwards. He just looked more relaxed; I’ve always thought Tomas was a bit uptight, so maybe he’s chilling out a bit, which will probably do him good.

    • Berdych played very well against Kyrgios one year at the AO, and Kyrgios wasn’t playing badly then.

      I do feel Berdych missed his chance of a slam at USO2012, when he beat Fed in the QF. He met Murray in the SF that year and I feel had Berdych played a bit better, he had chances winning that match. Djoko in the final wasn’t playing well (vs Murray) due to the windy conditions, who knows should Berdych make the final, he might be able to beat that Djoko too.

  8. The best i felt T.Berd has ever played was Wimbledon in 2010 against Federer and Djokovic, sadly though he ran out of steam to really push Rafa in the final, he also played well at the FO the same year beating Murray in straight sets, although clay isnt Murrays best surface, when he shows up to play he can be a problem for Federer at the GS, hes not intimidated and seems to relish playing him ….

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