14/04/2024

Nick Kyrgios is one of three Australian men through to the fourth round at Wimbledon. (image: wimbledon.com)

Australia has three men through to the fourth round, presenting the nation with its best opportunity of seeing a male singles champion in over a decade.

Ash Barty completed a momentous title win last year, but on the men’s side, it’s been a long period of starvation at the All-England Club.

It’s been 20 years since a 21-year-old Lleyton Hewitt lifted the Wimbledon trophy. Mark Philippoussis made the final the following year, then Hewitt made the semi-final in 2005, but no Australian man has gone that far since.

But Australia now has three men through to the fourth round, presenting the nation with its best opportunity in over a decade of seeing a male singles champion.

Nick Kyrgios has been his explosive self on and off the court during the first week, taking out fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a controversial third-round battle.

A lot less low key, Australia’s highest ranked player, Alex de Minaur, has been equally impressive dropping just one set on his way to the fourth round.

Meanwhile, 29-year-old Jason Kubler is providing the underdog, feel good story of the Championships. Having never been past the second round of a Grand Slam, the Queenslander battled back from two sets to one down to defeat American Jack Sock in the third round.

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Kyrgios is the clear favourite of the Aussie group to go all the way, sitting overall behind perhaps the two best to ever do it – Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

World number 27, de Minaur, is next in line to break Australia’s 20-year drought on the men’s side of the draw.

Both players will go in as heavy favourites in their fourth round matches tonight, taking on Brandon Nakashima and Christian Garin respectively.

As the only qualifier left in the men’s draw, Kubler will likely find things a lot more difficult. He’s an outsider against another American in Taylor Fritz in the fourth round. Even if he were to win, he’d likely face 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Speaking of the quarterfinals, Kyrgios and de Minaur will play each other should they get through their fourth-round matchups. That would guarantee an Australian male in the semi-finals for the first time since Hewitt in 2005.

The Australian trio are taking advantage of a far more favourable men’s draw with the omission of some of the biggest and best players in the game.

World number one Daniil Medvedev was banned from playing due to his Russian nationality, as was his compatriot and world number eight Andrey Rublev.

World number two Alexander Zverev pulled out of the tournament with an ankle injury, while fellow top ten players Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz were all eliminated within the opening two rounds.

The situation provides a big opportunity for the Aussie men, even if 35-year-old Djokovic remains an odds-on favourite to lift his seventh Wimbledon trophy and 21st Grand Slam title overall.

Ajla Tomljanovic continues to fly the Aussie flag on the women’s side, with the draw opening up after the elimination of world number one and French Open champion Iga Swiatek.

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