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Ricky’s Preview | Picks For Day 1 Of The 2019 U.S. Open Tennis • Including Federer • Wawrinka • Fognini • Opelka

By Ricky Dimon

The U.S. Open is here! Yes, the final major of 2019 is already upon us. Ricky previews four of the headline matchups on Monday and makes his predictions. It is a schedule that includes Swiss stars Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

(3) Roger Federer vs. (Q) Sumit Nagal

Federer hopes his 2019 U.S. Open campaign ends with a final against Rafael Nadal. But it will begin against NAGAL on Monday night. Nadal and Nagal obviously won’t be confused despite the similarities in their last names, as the latter is just now breaking onto the scene. The 22-year-old Indian ranked 190th has played only four tour-level matches in his career and is still seeking his first such victory. Prior to this past week he never won a single slam qualifying match. Will a John Millman-sized upset take place on Monday, as it did in the fourth round last summer? Almost certainly not, as Nagal is not Millman and it isn’t forecast to be especially hot or humid in New York this time around. This will be an awesome experience for the underdog and a routine win for Federer.

Pick: Federer in 3

(23) Stan Wawrinka vs. (Q) Jannik Sinner

At just 18 years old, Sinner is up to No. 131 in the world and will have direct entry into the 2020 Australian Open on his mind. The Italian lost an epic in the first round of Wimbledon qualifying to Alex Bolt via a 2-6, 7-5, 12-10 decision, but he successfully qualified at the U.S. Open. Up first for Sinner is Wawrinka, the 2016 USO champion. Wawrinka is an outstanding 40-12 lifetime at Flushing Meadows, with six consecutive trips to at least the third round (five of those six to at least the fourth round). The 24th-ranked Swiss has struggled just a bit since reaching the French Open quarterfinals, losing his second match at Queen’s Club, Wimbledon, the Montreal Masters, and the Cincinnati Masters. This will not be easy for Wawrinka, but his experience and his firepower especially of the backhand wing will be too much for Sinner.

Pick: Wawrinka in 4

 (11) Fabio Fognini vs. Reilly Opelka

Opelka is a nightmarish opponent in the opening round of a Grand Slam; just ask Stan Wawrinka! The 6’11” American took down Wawrinka in round two of Wimbledon and his hard-court summer includes a semifinal showing in Atlanta. But Fognini is formidable, himself–at least when his head is on straight. Although he may be at his best on clay, the Italian is a fine hard-court player and his U.S. Open resume includes a famous five-set upset of Rafael Nadal. The No. 11 seed should survive a competitive contest that will feature lots of bad body language on both sides.

Pick: Fognini in 4

(19) Guido Pella vs. Pablo Carreno Busta

Nothing has five-setter written all over it quite like a battle between Pella and Carreno Busta. This will be a baseline slugfest with long rally after long rally; it would be no surprise to see it go past the four-hour mark. Carreno Busta, who leads the head-to-head series 1-0, is a former U.S. Open semifinalist (2017). He may be rounding back into form thanks to a third-round result in Cincinnati as a qualifier. Pella made his major breakthrough at Wimbledon (quarterfinals) and lightning may not be able to strike twice.

Pick: Carreno Busta in 5

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

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