TennisSection previews the 2023 Australian Open as Rafael Nadal takes on Jack Draper in the first round on Monday, January 16, 2023.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has landed one of the trickiest unseeded players in the first round of the 2023 Australian Open. Will the Spanish lefty overcome fellow southpaw Jack Draper in the most eagerly anticipated match of day one?
Rafael Nadal arrives at Melbourne Park with doubts regarding his form since the turn of the year. Thankfully for Nadal, he doesn’t appear to be struggling physically, despite losing to Cameron Norrie and Alex De Minaur at the United Cup. But if last year taught us anything, is that you just cannot write off Nadal at any tournament. The Spaniard has a mouthwatering opening match against British rising star Jack Draper to begin with.
Jack Draper, unlike Rafael Nadal, has hit peak form ahead of the 2023 Australian Open. Draper started the season with a Round-of-16 run in Adelaide 1, and then reached another semifinal in Adelaide 2, conquering the likes of Lorenzo Sonego, Tommy Paul, and Karen Khachanov. Although his wait for a first Tour-level final goes on, he will most likely break his duck this year. Can Draper stun the defending champion?
Rafael Nadal and Jack Draper have not played each other on the ATP Tour. Monday’s match at the Australian Open will be their first official meeting. Draper played his semifinal against Kwon in Adelaide with one eye on his first career match against the Spaniard and you can’t fault him. But you could clearly feel the toil he has gone through during the week and signs of fatigue creeping in. It’s not ideal preparation particularly playing a fully rested Nadal. We expect the Spaniard to carry the day in the pick of the first-round matches.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Rafael Nadal in 4 sets
Free Value Bet: Jack Draper to win a set
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