TennisSection previews the 2022 Australian Open as Rafael Nadal (6) meets Karen Khachanov (28) in the Third Round on Friday January 21st, 2022.
2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal will be aiming to break history here at the 2022 Australian Open as he seeks to win his record 21st Grand Slam title. His odds of lifting the trophy improved drastically when Novak Djokovic was denied the opportunity to defend his title. Up next in the Spaniard’s path is the talented but inconsistent Russian, Karen Khachanov. Will Nadal continue his dominant 2022 form with another victory here? Or can Khachanov cause the massive upset?
Rafael Nadal is the sixth seed here at the 2022 Australian Open and is currently ranked #5 on the ATP Tour. There is not much more that needs to be said about the legendary Spaniard, who is one of the all-time greats of the sport. The Australian Open has been the Grand Slam where he has found the least success, with his only victory coming back in 2009. However, he has reached the Finals on a number of occasions and should never be counted out, especially given the withdrawal of Novak Djokovic who was in his half of the draw. After winning the title in Melbourne, he continued his dominant form by cruising past both Marcos Giron and Yannick Hanfmann, to secure his status as the major favorite here against Karen Khachanov.
Karen Khachanov is the 28th seed here at the 2022 Australian Open and is ranked 30th in the world rankings. The Russian is one of the biggest hitters on the tour, and his game is perfectly built for this quicker surface. However, he has been very inconsistent over the past few seasons, and has seen his ranking slowly slide out of the top 10 where it once was. The Russian has looked impressive here so far, brushing aside Dennis Kudla and Benjamin Bonzi. While those wins were confidence-boosting, it will be a whole different ball game here against one of the best in the world, Rafael Nadal, and he will have to be at his absolute best to get the win here against an opponent that he has never beaten. Despite the odds, Khachanov does have the power to cause the Spanish legend some trouble, and it will be interesting to see what happens here.
This will be the eighth meeting between the two players on the ATP Tour, with Rafael Nadal dominating the head to head, winning all seven meetings thus far. There is nothing to suggest that this result will be any different, and Nadal should win this relatively comfortably. Karen Khachanov is a very talented and explosive player, but lacks the consistency to be able to win here. There will be some close moments where the Russian has the upper hand, but expect the Spaniard to grind his way to a comfortable victory here, moving on to the Fourth Round of the 2022 Australian Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in straight sets
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