TennisSection previews the 2023 Adelaide International 2 as Thanasi Kokkinakis takes on Alexei Popyrin in the first round on Monday, January 9, 2023.
One of the popcorn first-round matches at the Adelaide International 2 will see Thanasi Kokkinakis face fellow Aussie Alexei Popyrin. Will Kokkinakis begin his title defense with a win? or will the resurgent Popyrin shock the defending champion?
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexei Popyrin are both wild card entrants at the Adelaide Internationa 2. And was there any doubt about their participation? Kokkinakis is the defending champion and naturally, the crowd favorite playing in his home city of Adelaide. Last year, he won his maiden ATP title on this territory and used that result as a springboard to his Australian Open doubles triumph just a couple of weeks later. Kokkinakis began his 2023 campaign with a second-round loss to Jannik Sinner in Adelaide 1, and faces a very tough opener against compatriot Popyrin.
Alexei Popyrin has been in terrific form to start things off in 2023. He earned one of the biggest wins of his career last week in Adelaide 1, beating World No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets. Having started the week in qualifying, Popyrin advanced to the quarterfinals, backing up his win over the Canadian by beating Marcos Giron. However, he lost to Yoshihito Nishioka in a three-set barnburner. Will he carry that momentum to the Adelaide International 2 when he faces Thanasi Kokkinakis?
Remarkably, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexei Popyrin have not played each other on the ATP Tour or Challenger Tour. Monday’s match at the Adelaide International 2 will be their first official meeting. This will be an extremely difficult match to predict from a winner’s standpoint. Although Kokkinakis is currently the higher-ranked player and the defending champion, Popyrin is coming off a monstrous win from Adelaide 1. After a year on the wilderness and seeing his ranking plummet considerably, that quarterfinal run last week should do him a world of good. If he can play clutch tennis like he did against Auger-Aliassime, he might suprise Kokkinakis. This will be tight, with very few chances to break, so we might see a tiebreak or two.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Alexei Popyrin in 3 sets.
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