Australian Open R4 preview and prediction: Dimitrov vs. Kyrgios

Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers and for the second time already this season when they battle for a spot in the Australian Open quarterfinals on Sunday.

Kyrgios had been 0-2 in the head-to-head series before he scored a recent 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory in the Brisbane semis. Dimitrov previously got the best of the Australian 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(4) at the 2015 Indian Wells Masters and 6-3, 7-5 in last summer’s Cincinnati title match.

Only once has the winner of their matchup failed to eventually win that tournament’s title (2015 Indian Wells). Dimitrov obviously triumphed in Cincinnati, while Kyrgios was the champion in Brisbane two weeks ago. As the latter result suggests, Kyrgios has been the best player on tour in the early stages of this 2018 campaign. The 22-year-old has built on his momentum from his fourth career ATP title with wins in Melbourne over Rogerio Dutra Silva, Viktor Troicki, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, surrendering only one set to Tsonga in the process. Kyrgios’ maturity and improved mental stability was on display throughout a high-quality affair against Tsonga on Friday night, when he treated the home crowd to a 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(5) victory after recovering from a 5-2 deficit in the fourth-set tiebreaker.

“I feel like I am,” the world No. 17 responded when asked if he has been composing himself better of late. “I made quarterfinals here three years ago, (but) I feel like I’m making improvements. The last couple years I feel like I haven’t been physically ready to play these long matches and back it up. I [had] a really good offseason this year. I trained with Lleyton (Hewitt) and the guys in Melbourne for two weeks. Physically I feel really good; just gives me confidence in my game. I know mentally I’m a lot better, as well. Obviously getting a good start in Brisbane helped.”

Dimitrov’s start to the season has been a rocky one on the heels of what was by far the best year of his career in 2017. The world  No. 3 was shaky in Brisbane even before his loss to Kyrgios and he has not yet found his best tennis at Melbourne Park. His draw during the first week featured two qualifiers and a 20-year-old (albeit a great 20-year-old), but to say things have not been easy for him would be an understatement. Following a straight-set beatdown of Dennis Novak, Dimitrov outlasted Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6 and overcame 15 double-faults in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Andrey Rublev.

“I’m not going to give any excuses right now,” the 2017 Aussie Open semifinalist said in his post-match press conference after beating Rublev. “It was just not a good day for me serving-wise. I tried to change the way I was tossing the ball or serving throughout the whole match, but just didn’t work; just didn’t work. I have to accept it and move on. Fifteen double-faults–that’s absolutely unacceptable.”

He will have to improve in the serving department–and in general–if he wants to have chance in what is already his second “road” match against Kyrgios in the first month of the year.

“I’ve played against the local (before), so to speak,” Dimitrov noted. “That’s part of the game. I’m very excited to just play; to go out there and compete. I appreciate my wins now. To get to play another day, I mean, this itself should get you already in a different mindset coming into [the next match].”

Unfortunately for the No. 3 seed, Kyrgios seems to be in a different mindset this season. He has been focused, motivated, and devoid of the nonsense that adversely affected his level of play in past years. His game has responded accordingly, marked by huge serving, big forehands, and a backhand that can do no wrong. Given the ease with which Kyrgios is holding serve, it is hard to see Dimitrov in his current form taking care of his service games with enough consistency to win this one.

Pick: Kyrgios in 4

36 Comments on Australian Open R4 preview and prediction: Dimitrov vs. Kyrgios

  1. Kyrgios in straights. Been to all his matches at AusOpen and he looks steady and focused for once in his career. Kyrgios will put huge pressure on Dimitrovs second serve and force double faults and get easy short second serves he can attack with ease. Dimitrov is just too wild at the moment.

  2. Kyrgios in five; Dimi not playing well so far this AO. However, he’s able to grind, unlike Tsonga, so he may drag it to five sets.

  3. I believe Kyrgios will come out on top,he seems confident on his game,playing very focused and serving very well whilst Dimitrov his far from his top form,doesn’t seem to be very confident on his BH,slicing it as much as he can. Also,Dimitrov’s second serve still a weakness and Kyrgios can surely exploit that.

    • Gaviria,

      I tend to agree with you. Unless Dimi steps it up and raises his level of play, I think Kyrgios will win. Dimi won his last match with 15 DF’s, I believe. That is insane! His backhand has been dreadful.

      Dimi has gotten through the early rounds playing sub-par tennis. It was good enough, but not now. Krygios looks focused and if he keeps it together, then he will win.

      • I hope I’m wrong Nny,I would prefer Rafa to face Dimitrov rather than Kyrgios,who as all the weapons to hurt Rafa in a fast hardcourt and can be very dangerous if he enters in beast mode.

        • Gaviria,

          Oh I am with you in preferring Rafa to face Dimi rather than Kyrgios. No question about it. Kyrgios can take the racket away from you when he’s on his game.

  4. Very interesting match-up. I have no idea who will win. From what I’ve seen so far it might indeed be Kyrgios if he keeps his head straight, since Dimi doesn’t seem to be at his best atm. Hopefully it will be a great match!
    Berdych vs Delpo unfortunately was a dud.

  5. Tomorrow is the day where Dimitrov needs to show the world that he deserves to be @ number 3. Dimi has been awful in last 3 Grand Slams. He looks fit. He has the tools. I see the hunger. I am hoping he comes good . Dimi is a solid player with a very reliable game. I hope he sorts out the issues tomorrow and puts up a good show. I dont see him winning against Kyrgios unless he picks his game of tennis.

    • I want N. Kyrgios to win, if he wins he will trouble Rafa if they meet.
      R. Nadal is in form and I am not sure Marin Cilic/P. Carreno can handle him, Rafa’s movement is good and he is gaining confidence.

  6. Imo, Kyrgios SHOULD destroy Dimitrov, but that does not mean he will at all… If Kyrgios can serve lights out like he does most of the time, AND stay tough when he drops serve or set(s), he should win this one. But let’s be real- if Kyrgios had a killer instinct, he would have the potential to be an all-time great. If he ever ends up loving tennis and really learns to love competing all the time, I would see him ending his career with many people considering him the greatest server the game has ever seen. When he is on and he cares, his serve is just so unplayable. I just fear he will never end up caring enough to end up with multiple major wins. He unquestionably has the ability to win this tournament. He has the ability to beat both Rafa and Fed/Djokovic. I will just always remain skeptical until I see him make a significant breakthrough…

    • You should remain skeptical as Dimi is leading with two sets up; that’s Kyrgios for you!

      He may occasionally beat the big three but he’s certainly very far away from them. There are many talented players around, past and present, Nalby being one of them yet not achieving much.

      IF this or that doesn’t matter, the big three all can be even better than what they are now wIth talents that may be better than Kyrgios; IF not for this or that too! Kyrgios may have his great serve but he lacks the tennis acumen the big three or four have; he doesn’t play intelligently, relying on his talent and his whims and fancies, that’s how I see it.

  7. Whats Dimi doing? Hes serving for the second set but lost serve and allowed Kyrgios back into the set! Now he has to fight so hard to win the TB.

    • Lucky, we want these guys to tire each other . Dimi has been very good today except for a few glitches so far. Even Kyrgios has not been that bad. Its a very good match in terms of level.

  8. Wow! Fantastic match from both! Grigor managed to bring Nick back into the match by losing his serve but then went on to play terrific TB like nothing happened! Respect for that! Grigor is on the run here!

  9. Dimi looks very determined here, good to see! We’re here saying that how bad Dimi has been playing but Dimi has now stepped it up (unlike Rafa).

    I prefer this match over that Rafa/Schwartzman match because both Kyrgios and Dimi are going for it playing aggressive tennis whilst Rafa was mainly defending against Schwartzman.

  10. What is Dimi doing? He’s serving for the set, in fact for the match, yet again he lost serve! What’s happening to him??

  11. Yes well done Dimi! When everyone writes you off, you play your best tennis to silent everyone!

    Good win by Dimi! He has proven his worth as the no.3 ranked player, beating the red hot local fave.

    All four matches went four sets today, showed us how tough they were. Three of the matches went over three hours with Edmund’s three minutes short (of three hours). No one has any advantage in the QFs.

  12. Dimitrov is super-fit. His last 3 matches have touched 3 hours but he looked in excellent shape. Even last year he looked in the SF against Nadal, he looked fresher in the fifth set but Rafa just willed to win.

    I think even though this match duration was less than Rafa-Shwartzman match, it would be more mentally taxing especially having to concentrate so hard wih a big server all the time , plus playing 3 breakers is mentally draining.

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