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Ricky’s Tennis Picks For Day 6 Australian Open | Djokovic vs. Shapovalov & Goffin vs. Medvedev

David Goffin of Belgium in action during his men's singles second round match against Marius Copil of Romania at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LYNN BO BO
David Goffin of Belgium in action during his men’s singles second round match against Marius Copil of Romania at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LYNN BO BO

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Third-round action at the Australian Open concludes on Saturday, when Novak Djokovic has another blockbuster matchup on his hands with Denis Shapovalov. Kei Nishikori, David Goffin, and Milos Raonic are also taking the court. Ricky previews four of the best matchups and makes his picks.

 

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (25) Denis Shapovalov

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during his men's singles second round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2019.  EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during his men’s singles second round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2019. EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM

Djokovic made mostly routine work of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Australian Open second round. Although Tsonga and Shapovalov are big names, neither was or is expected to give Djokovic any real trouble. After all, the world No. 1 has been by far the best player on tour dating back to last summer and he is also a six-time winner Down Under. Shapovalov has advanced by beating Pablo Andujar and Taro Daniel in straights, needing only one tiebreaker on each occasion to prevail. The 19-year-old Canadian, who began his season with a first-round Auckland loss to Joao Sousa, has been to the second week of a major only once (2017 U.S. Open). Djokovic in 3.

 

(21) David Goffin vs. (15) Daniil Medvedev

Goffin has been snakebitten by injuries since the spring 2017 and he really hasn’t been the same since February of last year. Medvedev, on the other hand, has only been skyrocketing over the past few seasons. The red-hot Russian captured three titles in 2018, finished runner-up to Kei Nishikori earlier this month at the Brisbane International, and has rolled so far in Melbourne. Based on current form, this is going to be one-way traffic for the most part. Medvedev in 4.

 

Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs. (16) Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic of Canada in action against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their second round match on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2019.  EPA-EFE/JULIAN SMITH  AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Milos Raonic of Canada in action against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their second round match on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIAN SMITH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Arguably in terms of quality and definitely in terms of competition level, Raonic was the best player through the first two rounds. The Canadian produced a ridiculous serving display (73 percent, 52 of 58 first-serve points won, 30 aces, one double-fault) to oust Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4 and he edged Stan Wawrinka 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 7-6(11), 7-6(5) on Thursday night. Raonic’s reward is what looks like a reprieve from the draw, as the unseeded Herbert emerged from a section that included 2018 AO semifinalist Hyeon Chung. The 55th-ranked Frenchman disposed of Chung 6-2, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 after dismissing Sam Querrey 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-1. Often considered a doubles specialist, a confident Herbert began his season with a quarterfinal performance in Doha. But Tomas Berdych destroyed him at that point and Raonic is the kind of opponent who can inflict similar damage. Raonic in 3.

 

Joao Sousa vs. (8) Kei Nishikori

Sousa went five sets against difficult foes Guido Pella and Philipp Kohlschreiber. Nothing could be less surprising. Nishikori also required five in each of his first two rounds; first against an unknown Polish qualifier, which was shocking. Then he went five with Ivo Karlovic; not as alarming, but certainly unexpected. Sousa is in outstanding form at the moment, so sound the upset alert. But he better get it done in four, because Nishikori’s five-set record is the stuff of legend. Sousa in 4.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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