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10sBalls • Tennis Previews and Picks For Day 3 At The U.S. Open, Including Djokovic vs. Edmund

Ricky’s previews and picks for Day 3 at the U.S. Open, including Djokovic vs. Edmund

By Ricky Dimon

Novak Djokovic will be back on the court at the U.S. Open on Wednesday. Action is heading into the second round, with the field diminishing from 128 to 64. Americans Jack Sock and Taylor Fritz are among those who are still alive, as are wily French veterans Adrian Mannarino and Gilles Simon.

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

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. Kyle Edmund

To the surprise of no one, Djokovic is completely dominant in the bubble with no other member of the Big 3 around. It is true that the world No. 1 did not have his ‘A’ game at the Cincinnati Masters, but he still captured the title. He looked better in round one of the U.S. Open on Monday night, destroying Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.

Up next for Djokovic on Wednesday is Kyle Edmund, who actually boasts a win in this head-to-head series. The Brit trails it 5-1, having pulled off a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 upset at the 2018 Madrid Masters to end a three-match losing streak to the Serb. Djokovic went on to prevail 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 at Wimbledon in 2018 and 7-6(7), 6-1 at the Paris Masters last fall. Edmund advanced on Monday by beating Alexander Bublik 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-0. That is a decent result, but not one that suggests the Brit can give Djokovic any real trouble.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

Gilles Simon vs. (19) Taylor Fritz

Fritz and Simon will be facing each other for the second time in their careers. Their only previous meeting came four years ago on the red clay of Nice, where Simon got the job done 6-4, 6-4. Of course, Fritz is a much different player now–and he, not the Frenchman, has home-court advantage this time around. The American is coming off a solid four-set win over Dominik Koepfer, who made a run to the U.S. Open fourth round last summer.

Simon sailed past Mohamed Safwat 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in his opener. Still, the veteran appears to be past his prime at 35 years old, toiling away at No. 52 in the world. Plus, Fritz is a big upgrade over Safwat. This should be an entertaining baseline battle and plenty competitive, but Fritz will win more free points on serve and that will be part of the difference.

Pick: Fritz in 4

(32) Adrian Mannarino vs. Jack Sock

Mannarino and Sock will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers on Wednesday. Sock leads the head-to-head series 4-1 (all on hard courts), but they have not faced each other since 2016. That was during the proverbial first half of Sock’s career, and the ongoing second half has been especially difficult. Mainly due to injuries, the 27-year-old American has disappeared from singles action over the past few seasons despite enjoying occasional dominance on the doubles court. Sock, who is ranked all the way down at No. 389 in the world, did well to battle past Pablo Cuevas in five sets on Monday.

That is not ideal preparation for what will surely be a grueling battle with Mannarino. The 39th-ranked Frenchman absolutely loves fast surfaces, even against bigger hitters like Sock. He proved it again with a 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Lorenzo Sonego during first-round action. Mannarino will likely get way too many balls back in play for a fatigued and still rusty Sock.

Pick: Mannarino in 3

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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