NICK Kyrgios is bracing for the “nightmare” prospect of facing Bernard Tomic on grass as the one-time Davis Cup teammates close in on a spicy Wimbledon showdown.
Tomic plays Kei Nishikori on Thursday for a likely third-round crack at Kyrgios, a heavy favourite to cruise past Dutchman Robin Haase.
Both Australia’s former quarterfinalists are in fine touch, with the resurgent Tomic fancying his chances of beating Japan’s 24th seed for a third time after chalking up nine wins from his 11 grass-court outings.
A semi-finalist in Stuttgart and Halle and boasting an astonishing 140 aces in his past five matches, four of which were best-of-thress-setters, Kyrgios would have favoured to take down Tomic.
But Kyrgios is wary.
“On the grass, he’s a nightmare,” said the 15th seed.
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“He plays very well on the grass. If he puts his mind to it, he can do some damage here, for sure.” Kyrgios was impressed with not only how easily Tomic took care of Polish lucky loser Hubert Hurkacz in the first round, but also the 25-year-old’s improved attitude on court.
“He looks comfortable. I feel like kind of when I watch him play now, (there’s) a bit of weight off his shoulders,” Kyrgios said.
“When I watched him this morning, he looked like he was having a bit of fun. It’s good to see him back out there because on the grass. He’s so talented. “If I play him, I play him. We both got tough matches coming up. “If it happens, it happens.”
Rating himself as a top-10 player on grass, Tomic believes he has the game to bring down Nishikori, who he’s beaten in their past two outings and shares a 2-2 record with.
“I beat Kei the last two times,” he said.
“In Cincinnati, where I reached the quarters two years ago. I beat him in Brisbane, too, and I think my game matches up well against his. “He actually beat me here at the Olympics in 2012. He is an unbelievable player. “But I always play well here. I just need to get into a rhythm.” Kyrgios and Tomic are among seven Australians eyeing third-round berths on Thursday.
Matt Ebden is looking to back up his big win over 10th seed David Goffin against French qualifier Stephane Robert, while teenage debutant Alex De Minaur continues against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, also of France.
Australia is assured of at least one player in the women’s third round with Daria Gavrilova squaring off with Samantha Stosur, while 17th seed Ashleigh Barty faces former finalist Eugenie Bouchard, a qualifier in 2018 after dropping out of the world’s top 100.