TennisSection previews the 2022 Sydney Open as Fabio Fognini takes on Nick Kyrgios in the first round on Monday, January 10th, 2022.
Ahead of his first outing of the 2022 season, the draw of the Sydney Open has not been generous to Nick Kyrgios. The fiery Aussie has been pitted against the unpredictable Fabio Fognini in a marquee first-round match. Can Kyrgios kick off his season with a win or will Fognini cause an upset?
Fabio Fognini, like Nick Kyrgios, will also start his 2022 season at the Sydney Open. The former World No. 9 did not make the shortlist of Italy’s ATP Cup team after being overtaken by Jannik Sinner, but still made time to cheer his countrymen in person at the team tournament. Fognini is not a world beater on hard courts, but his court awareness and shot-making ability makes him a threat across all surfaces. Fognini went 12-12 on that surface last season, with his major highlight coming at the Australian Open. The 34-year-old made the fourth round of the Happy Slam, losing to Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
Opponent Nick Kyrgios will be a real test for the Italian if he is to accumulate some much needed match practice ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year. Kyrgios and Fabio Fognini have only played once on the ATP Tour, but we are guaranteed some quality tennis between these two players. The Australian is in the midst of a ranking crisis, and has had to rely on a wild card entry at the Sydney Open. Last week he withdrew from the Melbourne Open on short notice due to asthma. Kyrgios has played just 25 matches since the start of the 2020 season which largely explains why he is on the cusp of a Top 100 exit.
Fabio Fognini and Nick Kyrgios have played once on the ATP Tour. That meeting was won by Kyrgios in straight sets at the Miami Masters in 2018. A repeat of the same at the Sydney Open is highly unlikely considering the amount of time the Australian World No. 93 has spent off court nursing injuries and illness. While he is still capable of out-acing Fognini even with very low fitness levels, I doubt he can keep the Italian at bay for long.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Fabio Fognini in 3 sets.
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