Australians at Wimbledon with mountains to climb
THE WIMBLEDON DRAW HAD A FEW MATCHES FROM DELICIOUS SINGLE MEN, BUT TOP FIVE AUSSES THINK THIS WAY IS A DIFFERENT MATTER: –
ALEX DE MINAUR vs. SEBASTIAN KORDA
The Australian No.1 could only sigh when he heard about his own draw against one of the circuit’s brightest young players, Korda: “Well, that’s what it is. .. “De Minaur is playing some of the best tennis of his career and he will have to be again with 20-year-old Korda, son of former Australian Open champion Petr Korda, breaking into the top 50 and ready to start his big match at SW19 where his father has already reached the quarter-finals. He was formidable in the clay court season, winning his first title, and looked ominously on the grass in Halle to reach the quarter-finals. “Obviously it’s not an ideal draw,” de Minaur shrugged with his straightest bat.
NICK KYRGIOS vs. UGO HUMBERT
What a classic this pair delivered at the Australian Open before Kyrgios advanced to the fifth set. Not that the maverick of the Mavericks was necessarily delighted to have to face this burgeoning 22-year-old French left-hander again. “Sheeeshhhh, Ugo not yet mannnnnnn,” Kyrgios tweeted upon hearing the news of their successful rematch on Friday. He hasn’t played since Melbourne and hasn’t played overseas since Acapulco in February 2020 while 21st seed Humbert, meanwhile, rose to 25th in his career and comes from annexing its first title on grass to Halle.
JORDAN THOMPSON vs. CASPER RUUD
“Thommo” loves the turf season, remembering his last superb summer on the green in 2019, but having traveled from Mallorca where he was preparing, the mustached rider might have hoped for a nicer draw than being thrown with Ruud. The young 12th-seeded Norwegian followed him from Spain after also reaching the quarter-finals there. The good news for Thompson? Ruud is still an absolute beginner on the grass. The bad news? He’s an incredibly fast learner as demonstrated by his triumphant clay-court campaign, which saw him climb to 14th in the world at just 22 years old.
JOHN MILLMAN vs. ROBERTO BAUTISTA AGUT
Australian No.2 Millman hasn’t had much luck lately, having to withdraw from Roland Garros with injury moments before playing his opener. The Queenslander also didn’t have much luck shooting ‘RBA’, the excellent 33-year-old ‘Senor Consistency’ who is increasingly comfortable on the grass to the point he has been able to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon. in 2019. Bautista Agut even made a start then champion Novak Djokovic and as the No.8 seed he could smell another performance this year.
CHRIS O’CONNELL vs. GAEL MONFILS
Sydney’s O’Connell was rightly thrilled to have fought in qualifying, but might not have been so thrilled to have drawn the much-loved Monfils. The French rider will have the crowd on his side and, when in the mood, can be almost unplayable. On the flip side, at 34 he is more and more accident prone, as evidenced by his loss to another lower ranked Australian, Max Purcell, at Eastbourne this week. The No.13 seed could be the most vulnerable to an early exit from a player who demonstrated his resilience in an excruciating five-set loss at Roland Garros.