Andrey Rublev vs Dominic Thiem is a matchup we would be accustomed to seeing in the later round of a Grand Slam, but instead the pair will meet in the first round of the Australian Open. We have predictions for that match and every first-round match at the Australian Open, with complete coverage of the tournament at Last Word on Tennis.
Andrey Rublev vs Dominic Thiem
Damian Kust: It’s an unlucky outcome for Thiem, who would have a shot against most of the players in the field. Does he have one against Rublev? Maybe, but it’s likely that the Russian will simply be too strong in a best-of-five scenario. His base level might just be too strong. Rublev in 4
Glenys Furness: Rublev is the fifth seed at the Australian Open, so in theory this should be a walk in the park. However, the Russian has been out of sorts so far this season. As fourth seed at Adelaide 1, Rublev lost in the first round to Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard lost the first set to Rublev, but then came back and took the next 2. In Adelaide 2, Rublev was the top seed, and had a bye into the second round. Home favourite Thansi Kokkinakis defeated Rublev in three sets.
Dominic Thiem didn’t even make it through qualifying in Adelaide 1, losing to the top qualifying seed in straight sets. The Austrian did not play Adelaide 2, instead focussing on preparation and practice for the first slam of the year. Thiem in 4
Yesh Ginsburg: What a brutal draw for both of these men. Thiem is slowly making his way back to the top of the game, but he’s nowhere near elite again yet. Rublev is elite, but has been bitten by inconsistent play recently. Still, it’s impossible to trust Thiem right now. Rublev in 4
Max Purcell vs Emil Ruusuvuori
Damian: Purcell did well to qualify and he’s got a great singles game to match his doubles expertise. He’ll need his best disrupting skills to keep Ruusuvuori from finding his rhythm here. He should keep it somewhat close thanks to his killer slice, but probably come up short in the long run. Ruusuvuori in 4
Glenys: Purcell came through qualifying for the Australian Open. Unseeded the Australian defeated each of the three opponents in straight sets to qualify, including defeating the second and 22nd seeds. The Aussie will have the crowd behind him and playing on home soil can be an advantage or a curse.
Ruusuvuori is a direct entrant to the Open, however the Fin has not had a great start to the season, the two opening events he has played have seen Ruusuvuori losing in the first round. The Fin has not performed well historically here, and as he faces a qualifyer who are know to be dangerous Ruusuvuori cannot take this for granted. Purcell in 5
Yesh: Ruusuvuori has so much potential, but he’s on and off at times. Purcell likes the courts here, so a surprise wouldn’t be shocking. Purcell in 4
Zizou Bergs vs Laslo Djere
Damian: Bergs was able to improve with every match in the qualifying and has a nice opportunity ahead of him. It’s not clear at all though as Djere will ask the questions and keep him honest. If the weapons are firing for the Belgian, he’s got every chance of winning this. Bergs in 5
Glenys: Bergs also came through qualifying and the Belgian has made the main draw here for the first time. Bergs will be wanting to impress and prove that as a qualifier he can make progress at a grand slam for the first time. Having made the main draw at Wimbledon last year before losing in the first round, the Belgian will want to move on from here.
Djere has never progressed beyond the first round here. The Serbian is often in the shadow of his countryman Novak Djokovic and therefore usually lesser known. Djere will want to capitalise on this status and prove that Serbian tennis is more than one man. One of these will make the second round of the Australian Open for the first time. Djere in 4
Yesh: Djere is better on clay, but he’s also very quietly becoming a strong player now. He should have the advantage in this one. Djere in 4
Facundo Bagnis vs Dan Evans
Damian: It’s been far from a perfect start to the year for Evans, but he most certainly can’t complain about his draw here. Bagnis is rarely dangerous on a hard court and while he does have a decent serve, he is unlikely to pose a huge threat to the Brit. Evans in 4
Glenys: Bagnis is in the main draw for only the second time. The Argentine was last in the main draw at the Australian Open in 2017, since then he failed to qualify until this year. The Argentine had two titles on the Challenger tour, with three finals in total last season. The Argentine may struggle on the big stage, as not being at this stage for six years could be a big disadvantage.
Evans on the other hand will has points to defend. The Brit made the third round last year, and is seeded this year. Evans was in Adelaide 2 and seeded five. A very tough match in the first round against American Mackenzie McDonald saw the Brit lose in a tight match. Evans in 3
Yesh: Dan Evans is a solid Top 30 player when he’s on, which unfortunately isn’t always guaranteed. Still, on a hard court, he shouldn’t have too much trouble in this one. Evans in 3