Day 1 at the ATP Sydney International features a blockbuster first-round match between Nick Kyrgios and Fabio Fognini. The enigmatic Australian is set to play for the first time since September. But he won’t be able to stop his ranking cascading outside the Top 100.
ATP Sydney Day 1 Predictions
David Goffin vs Facundo Bagnis
Head-to-head: first meeting
David Goffin started 2021 ranked inside the Top 20. But a premature end to his campaign due to ankle and knee injuries saw his stock fall to as low as 39th in the world rankings. It is highly unlikely he will be seeded at the Australian Open which could put him in serious peril of drawing any of the Top 32 players in the first round.
Bagnis, for his part, will be in fine spirits after a productive week in Melbourne. The 31-year-old Argentine clay-courter scored one of the best wins of his career in a first-round upset over Andy Murray last week. Bagnis came within a couple of points of knocking out Grigor Dimitrov in the subsequent round. Goffin is mired in a race against time to find his footing before the Australian Open. And with the way Bagnis has been playing right out of the gate, an upset is very much on the table in this one.
Prediction: Bagnis in 3
Jordan Thompson vs Marcos Giron
Head-to-head: Thompson 0-1 Giron
Jordan Thompson confessed to having a difficult time adjusting to life after contracting coronavirus during the off-season. His pre-season preparations were hampered as he made his way to full fitness. Thompson did enjoy a positive return last week as got his campaign to a winning start in Melbourne before losing to Ruusuvuori in the Round of 16. Thomspon will have a lion’s share of support. But I am not entirely convinced that alone will be enough to take down the rapidly-improving Giron.
Prediction: Giron in 3
Lorenzo Sonego vs Hugo Gaston
Head-to-head: Sonego 1-0 Gaston
This is such a tough one to call. Hugo Gaston is a pesky customer for a first-rounder, and Sonego will be fully aware of the challenge that awaits. The French lefty has the skillset to make things awkward for the hard-hitting Italian when they meet for the second time on Monday. Both players are set to take their bout in this new season. Whoever wanders off their game will lose the match. Right now, I’ll side with the higher-ranked Sonego.
Prediction: Sonego in 3
Nick Kyrgios vs Fabio Fognini
Head-to-head: Kyrgios 1-0 Fognini
Neither player struck a ball in the opening week of the tennis season. And it is Nick Kyrgios who will pay a hefty price for his absence at the Melbourne Summer Set 1. The 26-year-old’s withdrawal from last week’s tournament was enforced rather than precautionary. Kyrgios gave an update that he was bedridden for a couple of days due to asthma and only returned to the practice courts a few days ago. As result, he is set to slide outside the world’s Top 100 for the first time in eight years.
Fognini, meanwhile, will also be making his first start of the 2022 season. The quick-tempered Italian was in Sydney lending his support to his countrymen at the ATP Cup this past week. This match should be a shot-making spectacle. Surface preference should favor the big-serving Kyrgios. But given his questionable fitness record in the past six months, it shouldn’t be a major surprise if he falls here.
Prediction: Fognini in 3
Main Photo from Getty.