AAP Tennis

Nadal and Kyrgios lead day four of Open

By AAP Newswire

World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios remain on target for a tantalising fourth round tussle but still face some formidable obstacles as the Australian Open continues to unfold.

Nadal and Australia's 23rd seed could meet in the last 16 which would be their first encounter since Kyrgios purposely smashed a forehand at Nadal's chest as tempers boiled over during their explosive 2019 Wimbledon clash.

But Kyrgios says he's only thinking about Thursday's second round opponent, veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon, with the pair in action in the night session on Melbourne Arena.

Now ranked world No.61, the former top 20 player showed his class with a round one straight sets win over Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay.

Nadal is the headline act in the night session on Rod Laver Arena and is likely to be too strong for Argentine Federico Delbonis, with the world No.76 passing the first round at Melbourne Park only once before.

Fourth seed Simona Halep, who lost a heart-breaking 2018 Open final, precedes Nadal's night match when she takes on British qualifier Harriet Dart, who is making her first main draw appearance.

Australia's No.2-ranked player Ajla Tomljanovic opens the day's play on Rod Laver against two-time major winner, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.

"It's going to be tough for me," Tomljanovic, the world No.52 said.

"Definitely a big-hitting match next round, for sure."

Local wildcard Alex Bolt will be out to emulate last year's third round showing when he takes on fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, with their clash scheduled on Melbourne Arena before the Kyrgios match.

The pair haven't met before on the ATP tour.

"He's one of the best players in the world, I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to play him," Bolt said.

But Bolt felt he didn't need to change much to press Thiem.

"I feel like the way I play is going to take it to most players in the world and if I stick to my guns I'm going to cause him some grief."

Organisers are hopeful that overnight forecast rain clears so they can keep the schedule on the outside courts on track.

Among those matches are Priscilla Hon, who plays her third match in three days after also squeezing in a women's doubles.

The Queensland wildcard takes on 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, who is now ranked 18.

Another wildcard, Victorian Arina Rodionova faces Dutch ninth seed Kiki Bertens.

Lleyton Hewitt will partner Jordan Thompson in the opening round of the men's doubles.