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Ricky’s Preview | Picks For Sat. At The U.S. Open Including Osaka vs. Gauff • Isner, Cilic, Rublev, Kyrgios, Monfils, Shapovalov

By Ricky Dimon

You can’t get a much better third-round lineup at a Grand Slam than the one on Saturday at the U.S. Open. The women’s slate includes an absolute blockbuster between Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff. On the men’s side, Nick Kyrgios and Andrey Rublev are getting the night-session treatment.

Ricky previews four of the best matchups and makes his predictions.

(1) Naomi Osaka vs. (WC) Coco Gauff

Get your popcorn ready for this one folks. Kobe Bryant and Colin Kaepernick were in attendance for Gauff’s second-round match and that wasn’t on the main court nor was it against a seeded opponent. This one is at night in Arthur Ashe against the No. 1 player in the world. Even though she is just 15, don’t think for a second that Gauff can’t handle the pressure. She just made a run to the Wimbledon fourth round and handled massive expectations extremely well as the match favorite on Thursday. Gauff is by no means favored against Osaka, who will have the pressure on her shoulders–something she hasn’t handled particularly well since winning consecutive slam titles in New York and Melbourne. Gauff is on fire right now and Osaka is slumping (by her lofty standards, at least) so this one should be competitive. Everyone is one the bandwagon…and so am I.

Pick: Gauff in 3

(28) Nick Kyrgios vs. Andrey Rublev

The good Kyrgios has been on display so far at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. You never know what you are going to get from this guy, as both his game and his mental state can go completely off the rails at any given time. But…yes…all systems are go through two rounds. He complete thrashed his first two opponents, seemingly inspired to make a deep run on one of the biggest stages of tennis–especially knowing that he has a favorable draw to the semifinals. Rublev isn’t easy, but for the third round of a Grand Slam you can’t ask for more than facing an unseeded opponent. This match is at night in Arthur Ashe Stadium; you could not ask for a more ideal setting for the 24-year-old Australian.

Pick: Kyrgios in 5

(14) John Isner vs. (22) Marin Cilic

Isner has home-court advantage at one of his favorite tournaments, one in which he reached the quarterfinals last summer. Critically, Isner conserved energy through two rounds by winning his matches in straight sets at the expense of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and an in-form Jan-Lennard Struff. The 6’10” American has often struggled late in Grand Slams due to playing too many long five-setters in the early rounds, but that is not the case this time. Cilic, meanwhile, is a shadow of the player who won this tournament in 2014. The Croat is struggling these days, and Isner is playing well enough to take advantage.

Pick: Isner in 3

(13) Gael Monfils vs. Denis Shapovalov

Like Kyrgios, Monfils is a showman who absolutely thrives in the limelight. So this setting should also work out perfectly for the flamboyant Frenchman, who has breezed through two matches with no trouble whatsoever. That is especially important for Monfils, whose body is prone to break down when he plays too much tennis in too short of a time frame. But he should have everything left in the tank for this one against Shapovalov, who has benefited from a friendly draw against a struggling Felix Auger-Aliassime and the little-known Henri Laaksonen. Monfils is a two-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist and he has a great chance of making it that far again in 2019.

Pick: Monfils in 4

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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