World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will start his quest for a second Australian Open title on Monday against the Australian James Duckworth. This will be the first meeting of the two players.
Watch & bet on Rafael Nadal v James Duckworth with bet365 here* on Monday, January 14. The Nadal v Duckworth match will begin at 11:00 am local time (12:00 am BST).
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Nadal’s Official Start to the Season
Nadal, who ended his previous season quite early owing to his ankle surgery and abdominal injury, has had plenty of time to recover and recuperate for the 2019 Tour. Towards the start of the season, however, there were signs that the Spaniard may not be completely fit yet.
For example, he withdrew from the Mubadala Tennis Championships quite early in order to take a few days off for the new season. He then withdrew from the Brisbane International owing to a thigh strain, thus essentially raising concerns about his campaign at the Melbourne Park.
However, the Spaniard was quick to dispel these concerns in front of the press, ahead of his first-round match on Monday. That match will also mark his start to the 2019 ATP Season.
In year behind us, Nadal won the French Open for the record 11th time, along with the Monte-Carlo Masters, Italian Open, and the Rogers Cup. Had it not been for his injuries, he could have very well finished the season as the World No. 1. Last year in Melbourne, he reached as far as the quarterfinal before incurring a hip-injury against Marin Cilic.
Owing to the same injury, he withdrew from the Mexican Open, along with the Indian Wells and Miami Masters.
Duckworth’s Chance to Shine
Considering that Nadal is returning to the tour after a hiatus of a significant amount of time, Duckworth can very well capitalise on the Spaniard’s lack of momentum and pull off a stunning upset, right in the first round.
However, over the course of his career, there haven’t been many instances where the World No. 238 has delivered a stunning result. He primarily plays on the Challenger Tour with an occasional stint on the ATP circuit. Last season, his best run came at the ATP Washington where he reached the third round.
He ended the year at the Challenger event in Canberra where he lost in the second round.
Nadal v Duckworth – Who Will Win?
Nadal is definitely going to start this match as the favourite to win. His lack of momentum, however, may be a concern for some fans but against the inexperienced Duckworth, he shouldn’t face that many difficulties. We can expect the Spaniard to win this one in straight sets.
You can watch & bet on Rafael Nadal v James Duckworth with bet365 here on Monday, January 14.