By Ben Glover30 Aug 2021 23:31
Nick Kyrgios faces a huge challenge to stay alive beyond day one in the US Open, with the Australian star facing off against Spanish world No.21 Roberto Bautista Agut.
Kyrgios and Bautista Agut have played twice in the past, both on hard courts, and have split their encounters. However, when they last faced off the Aussie was humbled in the 2020 ATP Cup in Sydney, going down 6-1 6-4 in front of a parochial home crowd.
The Aussie star has barely played over the past 18 months, with his ranking dropping to 86, yet he showed at Wimbledon that he's still capable of elite tennis, at least in short bursts.
At Wimbledon Kyrgios was in control of his third round match against rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime, destroying the 21-year-old 6-2 in the first set but it quickly became clear that he was struggling badly with an abdominal injury and could barely extend his arm above his head to serve.
He bravely fought through the second set, dropping it 6-1 before quitting.
However the gruelling nature of his match with Humbert, combined with his lack of hardness and conditioning, ultimately brought him undone with his body failing him against Auger-Aliassime.
Clearly there is still a huge question mark over his conditioning, making Bautista Agut a nightmare match-up due to his grinding, metronomic style.
Kyrgios will step out onto Louis Armstrong Stadium at around 10.30am (AEST), putting him on court in prime time in New York, where he will be a strong crowd favourite against one of the most professional players on the circuit.
It looms as a must-watch.