Men’s first round at Australian Open

Reilly Opelka

Here are four men’s matches in the first round at the Australian Open, with the men.

Rafa Nadal vs. Marcos Giron
The Spaniard is back. In the fall, he couldn’t not play because he was injured. But last week, he won another tournament, his 89th victory. As always, he has a big first serve, his amazingly good with his heavy forehand, and at the net, he is so consistent. If he stays healthy over the next two weeks, he certainly has a shot to win another Grand Slam, as he is now the only former champion in the field with Novak Djokovic gone. That would be 21 majors, which would be a huge victory. Giron had a good 2021, and it took him years to understand how to win at this level. In order to win more matches, and to move up the ladder, he had to define what he really need to grow. Apparently, he did just that. However, to upset Nadal at a Grand Slam, the American has to play almost perfect. He will have some fine games, but to shock him, that is almost impossible.

John Isner vs. Maxime Cressy
The 36-year-old Isner says that he wants to stay this year and even more, even though he is aging. Well good for him. The big man will always throw in a huge amount of aces, and nail his hard forehand. He can be upset when he loses in close matches — especially at the Australian Open — bit when he wins, he can be super happy. Not many people know who Cressy is, but he reached the final last week, upsetting Reilly Opelka and Grigor Dimitrov, before he lost against Nadal, 7-6, 6-3. Very good. Last year, he was pretty decent, but not great. He is 24 years old, so he has lots of time to grow. But, on court at the AO, Isner will blast him in four sets.

Reilly Opelka vs. Kevin Anderson
The rising American improved a lot last year, with his huge serves and his forehand, too. He has improved his foot speed. The funny thing is when Opelka has to play against a gigantic server like Anderson, there will be few rallies. The South African — who does live in the United States — has aced so many times over the years, and believe it or, he improved his backhand and his return. He reached the Grand Slam finals twice, which is huge. Now he is aging, but he continues to push himself. The match should go into the fifth set, and the winner will be the player who returns more consistently. It looks like Opelka will do just that.

Cameron Norrie vs. Sebastian Korda
The young American Korda is rising. While he played a lot at the tournaments, he could be off, but when he is on, he can jump on the ball. At the start of 2021, he was ranked No. 119, and now he is No. 40. Clearly he was improving a lot. He does have a lot of different shots, which are all solid. So as long as he can produce, then he will continue to seriously improve. However, the Brit Norrie had a fine year. Now he is smart, on court, going for the shots, and to try to hit the lines. He has been disciplined, and stable. Korda will attempt to crack on him, but Norrie will stay there for a long time and beat him in five tough sets.

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