Australian Open Mens Doubles semi-final – Kokkinakis & Kyrgios vs Granollers & Zeballos
Okay, you’ll have to drag yourself out of bed at about 3:30am on Thursday morning if you want to watch this, and three of the players involved are hardly household names in tennis.
That scarcely matters when you have Nick Kyrgios involved, however; the Australian star is an outspoken underachiever who remains watchable, win or lose.
Lately he’s been winning – and causing quite a stink in the process, with New Zealand’s Michael Venus, dumped out by the Aussie in the quarter-finals, referring to Kyrgios’s lack of maturity and describing him as an “absolute nob”. Because it’s obviously the height of maturity to call someone an absolute nob.
Not that Venus doesn’t have a point. Kyrgios likes geeing up the extremely partisan crowd at the Australian Open, even reproducing Cristiano Ronaldo’s “siuu” celebration after beating Liam Broady last week.
Long story short, if Kyrgios is winning he’s obnoxious – and when he’s losing, he’s often even worse, throwing his racquet around, hurling insults at rival players and umpires alike, and generally behaving in an unseemly fashion.
It should all add up to a highly entertaining tennis match, though good luck calling the winner – currently, both pairs of players are available at identical odds of 9/10.
Dubai Desert Classic
The European Tour shrugs off the January chill with a trip to sunnier climes – and one man hoping to profit from this visit to the Middle East is Rory McIlroy.
The Ulsterman’s status in the game may be a little diminished with his failure to win a major in recent years. But McIlroy is definitely at home at the Emirates Golf Club, having claimed his maiden European Tour victory at this event in 2009.
He won again in 2015, was runner-up in 2018, and has finished in the top 10 here in each of his last eight appearances. No surprise he’s the 15/2 favourite to win this week, then – though with that exceptional record of top 10 finishes, you may want to play safe and back him at 10/11 for another top 10 showing here.
If you’re looking beyond the favourite, the likes of Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia are all in action this week – though maybe it’s worth following another well fancied player, Collin Morikawa.
The American had a disappointing t62 showing in Abu Dhabi last week, but won the World Tour Championship in Dubai at the close of last year. Morikawa has already landed two majors, having only turned pro in 2019, and the current world No.2 may be ready to claim another victory this week. Morikawa is 11/1 for the outright win, 5/4 for a top 10 finish.
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