Miami Day 1 Preview: Kyrgios Kicks Off With Mannarino Test
The Australian will seek to improve his 12-4 record at the ATP Masters 1000 event when he faces Adrian Mannarino as the first round action begins on Wednesday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Kyrgios looked in top form during his quarter-final run at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and has serious pedigree in Miami. He reached the semi-finals at the tournament’s former home in Key Biscayne in 2016 and 2017 and has never failed to reach the fourth round in four appearances in south Florida.
The six-time ATP Tour-titlist was in a positive mood in Indian Wells as he ousted Top 10-star Casper Ruud before falling to Rafael Nadal. “I’m just comfortable in my own skin,” said Kyrgios after his thumping first-round win over Sebastian Baez. “Mentally I feel the best I’ve probably ever felt, to be honest.”
The Australian will need to be focused from the start on Wednesday against an opponent whose best run in Miami was a fourth-round appearance in 201. The match will put one of tennis' flashiest and gifted showmen, who has not always maximised his prodigious talent, against a no-frills workman known for extracting the most from his game through his determination and work ethic. Who will win is anybody's guess.
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Gilles Simon will need to channel all his experience to edge one step closer to 500 career victories when he takes on an opponent seeking just his third tour-level win in 20-year-old wild card Jack Draper. Simon could reach his milestone by beating Draper and then 10th seed Cameron Norrie in the second round, and will hope to draw inspiration from his three previous quarter-final runs in Miami.
Draper takes to the court in confident mood. The Brit has notched three titles on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2022 to rise to No. 146 in the ATP Rankings and put himself in the early running for a spot at November’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.
Another player to enjoy significant recent success on the Challenger Tour is Tallon Griekspoor, who won seven titles at that level in 2021. He faces a first meeting with the Argentine World No. 103 Francisco Cerundolo in Miami.
Griekspoor lost out to Sam Querrey on his Masters 1000 debut in Indian Wells, but the Dutchman believes success will come as he plays more regularly at the top level. “I’m just looking to play week in, week out with those guys,” Griekspoor recently told ATPTour.com. “Maybe I’m looking for my first ATP title somewhere. Why not?
“For me, the level in Challengers is also tough. It’s not like it’s a lot different, so maybe that’s a goal, but it’s not like if I don’t make it this year I’m done. I think I have many years to come.”
Also meeting for the first time on Tour are Maxime Cressy and Emil Ruusuvuori. Both players have reached maiden ATP Tour finals in 2022. Cressy’s serve-and-volley game overcame Reilly Opelka and Grigor Dimitrov before being stopped by Rafael Nadal at January’s Melbourne Summer Set, while Ruusuvuori lost out to Joao Sousa in the final of the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune in February. The reward for the winner will be a second-round meeting with 10th seed Jannik Sinner.
#NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima makes his main-draw debut in Miami, facing off against World No. 63 Soonwoo Kwon, while former Top 20 star Benoit Paire plays Henri Laaksonen. The Frenchman has never been past the third round in Miami in six main-draw appearances.