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Nick Kyrgios v Ryan Harrison Brisbane International Final tips, predictions and live stream - Kyrgios to thrill home fans

  • Nick Kyrgios faces Ryan Harrison in the final of the Brisbane International on Sunday
  • Kyrgios v Harrison is live from Brisbane from 7.00pm local
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Brisbane at Unibet
Nick Kyrgios

Will Nick Kyrgios begin 2018 with a title? He’s up against Ryan Harrison in the final of the Brisbane International.

Kyrgios v Harrison is live from Brisbane on Sunday at 7.00pm local. Watch and bet on tennis live at Unibet.

Kyrgios has a difficult relationship with his Australian fans – but he can win his first ATP World Tour singles title on home soil at the Brisbane International if he defeats Harrison in Sunday’s final.

All three of Kyrgios’s ATP World Tour singles titles so far came during the 2016 season when he claimed titles at the Open 13 in Marseille, the BB&T Atlanta Open and the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo – none of which he defended in 2017, a season in which he didn’t win a title. Nevertheless, it was a season with more highs than lows for Kyrgios, who made a first Masters 1000 Series final in Cincinnati (losing to Grigor Dimitrov) and a 500-level final at the China Open in Beijing (losing to Rafael Nadal), as well as semifinals at the Miami Masters, Acapulco and Marseille.

Expectations are so high for Kyrgios, though, that his failure to make an impression at any of the Grand Slams – he didn’t get beyond the second round anywhere – probably dwarfed the achievements he did record in the eyes of many observers. His home fans would doubtless be thrilled if he could become the first Australian man since sometime mentor Lleyton Hewitt in 2014 to win the Brisbane International on Sunday – and as a confidence boost heading into the Australian Open (not that confidence is exactly Kyrgios’s problem) it couldn’t be bettered. 

It’s already been a great week for Kyrgios, particularly his semifinal win over defending champion Dimitrov, especially considering he came in with a knee injury. The world no. 21 struggled with fellow Australian Matthew Ebeden and had to come back from a set down against Alexandr Dolgopolov, but against Dimitrov he was a different player. Dimitrov didn’t face a break point in the first set, which went the Bulgarian’s way, but Kyrgios amped up his serving and aggression and did whatever he could do to keep the points short and avoid getting into long rallies once the second set began. It worked: He ran out the winner 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 with 19 aces. 

The Kyrgios-Dimitrov semifinal was definitely the draw in the men’s event in Brisbane on Saturday, but the other semifinal also featured an Australian – unfortunately it didn’t go the way of the home fans, as Ryan Harrison ended the sensational run of teenage wildcard Alex de Minaur 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. 

Harrison first broke into the top 100 back in 2011 following a run to the semifinals of Atlanta and hit his career-high ranking of world no. 43 in 2012, but in 2013, he went 32-29 despite a semifinal showing in Atlanta and ended the year outside the top 100, and was nearly outside the top 200 before he managed to stabilize his rankings freefall. 

Harrison only managed to get back into the top 100 at the very end of 2016 but he made a great start to 2017 when he won the Dallas Challenger in early February, going on to win the first ATP World Tour title of his career at the Memphis Open without dropping a set, breaking back into the top 50 as a result. Harrison would reach another final at the BB&T Atlanta Open, losing to John Isner, to end his season ranked world no. 45. 

Harrison’s victory over de Minaur was the third three-set match he has played in Brisbane this week after having to go the distance against Leonardo Mayer and Yannick Hanfmann: The only match he didn’t have to go three sets ended in the retirement of Denis Istomin in the second set. 

There’s plenty of history between Kyrgios and Harrison which could make this final an even more intriguing proposition. Harrison had an on-court spat with Kyrgios’s compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis in 2015, shortly after Kyrgios made his well-publicized ‘Kyrgios banged your girlfriend’ comment to Stan Wawrinka on court, after which Harrison claimed Wawrinka ‘should have decked’ Kyrgios (and that he himself should have ‘decked’ Kokkinakis). 

Asked about Harrison’s comments when they played in Madrid in May 2017, Kyrgios responded that he didn’t care because Harrison had ‘won a total of seven games against me’ – and made similar comments in advance of the Brisbane International final, saying: ‘Matches between us haven’t been very close, so I don’t know why there’s so much history there.’ 

It’s true that Kyrgios has won both their previous matches in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2 on hard courts in Tokyo in 2016 and 6-3, 6-3 in Madrid last spring. It would be a mistake for him to underestimate Harrison, however, just because Kyrgios has a clear power advantage over the American. Kyrgios doesn’t have a great record of backing up big wins and Harrison is excellent at getting under his opponents’ skins. It will take a very disciplined performance from Kyrgios if he is to claim his first title on Australian soil in Brisbane.  

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Nick Kyrgios v Ryan Harrison Brisbane International Final tips, predictions and live stream - Kyrgios to thrill home fans

Will Nick Kyrgios begin 2018 with a title? He’s up against Ryan Harrison in the final of the Brisbane International.

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