TennisSection previews the 2023 Australian Open as Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Rinky Hijikata in the Round of 64 on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.
It was a vintage Stefanos Tsitsipas performance in the first round, and he had to play his absolute best tennis. The Greek’s draw is opening up nicely as he set up a second-round meeting against wild card Rinky Hijikata. Who will reach the third round of the Australian Open?
Stefanos Tsitsipas needed precisely two hours to lay down a marker at the 2023 Australian Open. Tsitsipas saw off the big-serving Frenchman Quentin Halys 6-3 6-4 7-6. Given Halys’ level in Adelaide, particularly in his match against Djokovic, a lot of people were sensing a potential upset inside Margaret Court Arena. And Tsitsipas was keen to address his recent Grand Slam howler against Elahi Galan at last year’s US Open. He came out all guns blazing, breaking Halys four times, out-acing the Frenchman, and firing more winners in an attacking display full of verve and energy. He will be the overwhelming favorite to reach the third round when he takes on Rinky Hijikata.
Rinky Hijikata, meanwhile, scored his first win at the Australian Open on his main draw debut. Hijikata defeated Yannick Hanfmann from two-sets-to-love down, winning 4-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3 in four hours and 25 minutes. It was certainly the biggest win of his career and doing so on home turf on a day when Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the event. At least the Aussie fans had something to cheer about in an incredible atmosphere on Court 8. Could he conquer Stefanos Tsitsipas?
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rinky Hijikata have not played each other on the ATP Tour. Wednesday’s match at the Australian Open will be their first official meeting. Hijikata will get the majority of the fans’ support and will get a taste of what it is like to play inside Rod Laver Arena. Tsitsipas has a habit of buckling under pressure, we’ve seen it go totally wrong when the crowd gets to him. But in all probability, he should be winning this match without even shifting through the gears.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Stefanos Tsitsipas in 3 sets
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