Stats and sub-plots: Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev bidding for history, Dominic Thiem’s left-hander woes
Ahead of day two of the Australian Open, we preview four of the best ATP matches with your essential stat-pack, with Rafael Nadal featuring heavily.
Rafael Nadal v Hugo Dellian
- Rafael Nadal has never lost an Australian Open match to a player ranked as low as No. 73 Hugo Dellien. The lowest ranked player to defeat Nadal here is No. 45 Fernando Verdasco in the 1st round in 2016. Nadal has lost Grand Slam matches to players ranked as low as Dellien on 4 occasions – in 4 consecutive years at Wimbledon, when he fell to No. 100 Lukas Rosol in 2012, No. 135 Steve Darcis in 2013, No. 144 Nick Kyrgios in 2014 and No. 102 Dustin Brown in 2015.
- Nadal is bidding to win his 20th Grand Slam title and equal Roger Federer’s record for most Grand Slam men’s singles titles. He is also bidding to become the 5th player, man or woman, to win 20 or more Grand Slam singles titles – after Margaret Court (24 Grand Slam singles titles), Serena Williams (23), Steffi Graf (22) and Federer (20).
- Dellien is facing a world No. 1 for the first time. The highest ranked players he has previously faced are No. 5 Alexander Zverev at 2019 Geneva and No. 5 Medvedev at the 2019 US Open last year. The highest ranked player he has defeated is No. 29 Gilles Simon in the 1st round at Madrid-1000 last year.
- Dellien has won 3 of his 4 Tour-level matches against left-handed players with his only defeat to a left-hander at Tour-level coming against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the 1st round at Cordoba last year. He won the only match he has contested against a left-handed player at a Grand Slam, defeating Gunneswaran in the 1st round at Roland Garros last year.
- Nadal is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on 2 or more occasions. (NB While Laver completed the feat in 1969, some of the titles were won before the start of the Open Era.)
- Nadal and Djokovic are the only 2 players in contention for the world No. 1 ranking when the new rankings are released on Monday 3 February. Nadal can guarantee he remains at No. 1 following the Australian Open by reaching the semi-finals. Djokovic will only return to No. 1 if he wins the title and Nadal loses prior to the semi-finals.
Daniil Medvedev v Frances Tiafoe
- Daniil Medvedev has lost in the 1st round here on one previous occasion – on his Grand Slam debut in 2017, when he fell to Ernesto Escobedo in 4 sets. He has lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam on 4 other occasions – falling to French opponents on all 3 of his appearances at Roland Garros in 2017-19 and to Denis Shapovalov at the 2017 US Open.
- Last year at the Australian Open, as No. 15 seed, Medvedev recorded his best performance in the tournament by reaching the round of 16. He defeated Lloyd Harris, Ryan Harrison and David Goffin in straight sets before falling to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in 4 sets.
- Frances Tiafoe is contesting his 100th Tour-level hard court match.
- Last year at the Australian Open, Tiafoe recorded best Grand Slam result by reaching the quarterfinals. He defeated 2 seeded players – No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson and No. 20 seed Grigor Dimitrov – before falling to Rafael Nadal in the last 8. Aged 21 years 7 days, he became the youngest American man to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Andy Roddick (20 years 310 days) at 2003 Wimbledon.
Dominic Thiem v Adrian Mannarino
- Dominic Thiem is bidding to maintain an unbeaten record against Mannarino, having won all 7 of their previous meetings. Mannarino won a set in both of their first 2 meetings, but Thiem has won all 5 of their subsequent matches in straight sets, including both of their previous matches at the Grand Slams.
- Thiem, however, is also bidding to end a 3-match losing streak against left-handed opposition at the Grand Slams. He has not defeated a left-handed player at a major since defeating Mannarino in the 3rd round here in 2018. He has a 5-7 win-loss record against left-handers at the Grand Slams and a 44-26 win-loss record against lefthanders at Tour-level overall.
- Thiem’s best Australian Open performances are reaching the round of 16 in 2017 (l. David Goffin) and 2018 (l. Tennys Sandgren).
- Mannarino’s best Australian Open result is reaching the 3rd round in 2018. As No. 26 seed, he defeated Matteo Berrettini and Jiri Vesely before falling to today’s opponent in straight sets.
- Mannarino’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon on 3 occasions – in 2013 (l. Lukasz Kubot), 2017 (l. Novak Djokovic) and 2018 (l. Roger Federer).
Alexander Zverev v Marco Cecchinato
- Zverev has lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam on 4 previous occasions – including on his Australian Open debut in 2016 (l. Andy Murray). He also fell in the 1st round as a qualifier at the 2015 US Open (l. Philipp Kohlschreiber), as No. 9 seed at 2017 Roland Garros (l. Fernando Verdasco) and as No. 6 seed at Wimbledon last year (l. Jiri Vesely)
- Last year here Zverev recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the round of 16, where he fell to Milos Raonic in straight sets.
- At 22 years 288 days, No. 7 seed Alexander Zverev is looking to become the youngest Australian Open men’s singles champion since Rafael Nadal won the title here in 2009 aged 22 years 243 days. He would also become the youngest Grand Slam champion since Juan Martin del Potro won the title at the 2009 US Open aged 20 years 355 days. (NB Age calculated at the end of the tournament)
- Last year at the Australian Open, Cecchinato lost in the 1st round, falling to Filip Krajinovic in 5 sets. He also lost in the 1st round on his only other appearance at Melbourne Park – in 2016, when he fell to Nicolas Mahut. This is his 3rd Australian Open appearance and his 12th Grand Slam overall.
- Cecchinato’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals at 2018 Roland Garros. He defeated No. 10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 8 seed David Goffin and No. 20 seed Djokovic before falling to No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem in the last 4. At No. 72 he was the lowest-ranked man to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros since No. 100 Andrei Medvedev in 1999.
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