Monday, September 28, 2015

‘Half-Kampung Kid’ Nick Krygios Faces Off Against In-Form Giraldo As Main Draw Begins Tomorrow


The exciting main draw of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2015 is set to commence tomorrow with two singles matches and one doubles match to be played on the Centre Court of the Putra Stadium here in Bukit Jalil.

Now in its seventh edition, the USD$1,041,540 ATP 250 World Tour tournament boasts one of the strongest fields of players in its history and although top seeds will only descend to the court from Tuesdaytomorrow’s featured match will see the seventh seeded ‘Half-Kampung Kid’ Nick Kyrgios take on Columbian Santiago Giraldo on Centre Court (beginning 7.15pm onwards) in what is arguably the most anticipated matchup of the first round.

The 20-year-old Australian Krygios is having the best season of the career, breaking into the top 50 for the first time in January and reaching a career high ATP World Tour ranking of No.25 in June after advancing to his first ATP World Tour final in Estoril in May (l. to Gasquet). He is currently ranked at No.42.

The 27-year-old Giraldo is ranked just 16 spots lower at No.58 and also comes into the Malaysian Open in good form, having already made two ATP 250 semifinals this year.

Kyrgios, whose mother, Norlaila, is from Malaysia, is returning to the tournament for the second straight year and will hope to improve on last year’s performance where he lost to Matosevic in the first round.

“This is one of the tournaments I would love to win (my first title) because it’s close to home - I’ve visited Malaysia six times already. Even though it’s an ATP 250 event, it’s a tough draw with lots of good players coming in. I have been training hard here in Kuala Lumpur so I think my chances are good,” said the confident Aussie, who beat Roger Federer at the Mutua Madrid Open in May.

In the other singles match to be played, big serving Sam Groth of Australia (#54) will face Germany’s Benjamin Becker in the day’s first main draw match on Centre Court (beginning 4pm onwards).

The 27-year-old Aussie Sam Groth (#54), who holds the world record for the fastest serve at 263km/h, has picked up two Challenger titles and beaten the likes of Feliciano Lopez and Viktor Troicki this year.

Becker is ranked lower at No.71 but is no stranger to the hard courts of Malaysia, having made the quarterfinals here in Kuala Lumpur last year.

The doubles main draw is also set to begin tomorrow with local wild card pairing Mohd Assri Merzuki and Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib taking on the Mexican-German duo of Santiago Gonzalez and Phillip Petzschner.

Merzuki and Agil put in a good showing at the Iran F13 last December, where they made the last 16 in their first appearance as doubles partners, but tomorrow’s match will be a sterner test of their growing chemistry.

Even though Gonzalez and Petzschner have never partnered on tour, the duo have 16 doubles titles between them, most notably Petzschner’s Grand Slam wins (Wimbledon 2010 and US Open 2011, both with Melzer).

LOCAL BOY AHMED DEEDAT BOWS OUT IN QUALIFIERS

After yesterday’s remarkable win in the first round of qualifiers, local boy Ahmed Deedat Abdul Razak failed to overcome his second hurdle today, going down 6-1, 6-1 in 51 minutes to qualifying fourth seed Michal Przysiezny of Poland.

“I thought I was ready for today’s match, but I wasn’t, both physically and mentally. The level today was much higher and I’m not yet used to the pace. Now I feel I am more aware on what I need to work on to move forward,” said the 20-year-old, who will shift focus to the next Davis Cup, where Malaysia will attempt to maintain their position in Group 2.

With second round qualifying matches concluding today, all four final matches are set to take place on Centre Court and Court 1 from 1pm tomorrow.

On Centre Court, top seeded qualifier Yuichi Sugita of Japan (#131) takes on Italian Matteo Donati before Przysiezny (#150) faces off against 24-year-old American Daniel Nguyen.

Meanwhile on Court 1, second seeded qualifier Luca Vanni of Italy (#136) will face another Japanese, Yasutaka Uchiyama, at1pm followed by the match between German Mischa Zverev and Artem Sitak of New Zealand.

Off the court, several players were involved in activities in and around Kuala Lumpur today.

In the morning, local favourite Nick Kyrgios and Viktor Troicki of Serbia visited the Skyrides Festivals Park at the Malaysian administrative capital of Putrajaya, while a special meet and greet session with Nick Kyrgios and Jeremy Chardy saw fans throng to The Pavilion shopping mall located in the renowned Bukit Bintang shopping district in the evening.

Once again the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur is making the event affordable for all Malaysians. Entry from Saturday 26 September to Tuesday 29 September is free. Thereafter tickets will be between RM10 to RM620. Tickets can be purchased now on-line via the tournament website www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com, at TicketCharge outlets or through the ticket hotline at TicketCharge Ph: 603-9222 8811.

The tournament would like to thank its suite of official sponsors. In addition to the distinguished support of the Event Patron, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia, Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Youth & Sports, the event is proud to have prestigious commercial sponsors that include KPJ Healthcare Berhad, Rado, CNN International, the DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Wilson, 100 Plus, the Albukhary Foundation, Astro and the ATP World Tour’s Premier Partner Corona. 

-MalaysianOpenKualaLumpur.

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