And so the Nick Kyrgios experience lives on at Melbourne Park for another day.

Putting together one of his trademark performances that bewildered and bemused in equal measure, the Australian gave week one at AO 2020 the perfect sendoff with his 6-2, 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 7-6 victory over Karen Khachanov.

Love him or hate him, there is no player like him. Simply put: the longer he stays in a major, the better.

Now getting closer to the business end of the tournament, here’s your three-to-see on Sunday in Melbourne:

Maria Sakkari (GRE) [22] v Petra Kvitova (CZE) [7] – Second on Rod Laver Arena (Not before 12:00pm AEDT)

A finalist here in Melbourne last year, Petra Kvitova remains one of the biggest names left in the women’s draw, albeit with an immense test on her hands in Maria Sakkari. Leading the head-to-head 2-1 after three matches in 2019 (although her R16 win in Rome came via third set retirement), Sakkari has shown she knows how to frustrate Kvitova, being able to stretch out rallies and force the big-hitting Czech to play a more patient, position-oriented game than just hitting through the court as she would prefer. In saying that, her offensive advantage means the match remains on Kvitova’s racquet, but if Sakkari can once again stay resolute from the baseline, the upset will be well-and-truly on the cards.

Milos Raonic (CAN) [32] v Marin Cilic (CRO) – Second on Margaret Court Arena (Not before 1:00pm)

Suffice to say, it’s been a fairly decent AO so far for Milos Raonic. Yet to drop a set through three rounds, the Canadian comes in having just ousted 2019 semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, and now faces a similarly big name in 2018 finalist Marin Cilic. A player Raonic hasn’t beaten in nearly seven years (Indian Wells 2013), you wouldn’t expect the Canadian to have quite as easy a time with this one, especially as Cilic is one of the few players on tour who can return his shots with interest. Whatever the outcome though, it’s likely to be incredibly close given how proficient both guys are on serve, so expect five sets of pure power tennis, and a victor who puts themselves in serious contention for this tournament.

Ashleigh Barty (AUS) [1] v Alison Riske (USA) [18] – First on Rod Laver Arena (Night Session)

As if it wasn’t hard enough already to be carrying the hopes of the home fans at the Aussie Open, now Ash Barty has to fly the flag on Australia Day against an opponent in Alison Riske who has proven to be something of a nemesis. Holding a 2-0 head-to-head record that includes her extinguishing a red-hot Barty at Wimbledon last year, Riske’s aggressive, net-rushing game has proven to be unusually effective against the world number one, although with both her wins coming on grass, perhaps that strategy won’t be as effective here. Additionally, it’s worth noting the Aussie fans are unlikely to sit quietly as Riske makes her unusual “why??” sound when grunting, but in any case the onus is on Barty to keep the American from playing on the front-foot all the time, and that remains a very tough proposition that at the very least, she is unlikely to solve quickly.


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