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Tennis • Ricky’s Previews and Picks For Day 4 At The U.S. Open: Murray, Felix, Dimitrov, and More

Ricky’s previews and picks for Day 4 at the U.S. Open: Murray, Felix, Dimitrov, and more

By Ricky Dimon

Andy Murray will be back on the court at the U.S. Open on Thursday, two days after surviving a thriller of a first-rounder against Yoshihito Nishioka. Up next for the Scot is a popcorn match with Felix Auger-Aliassime. Also part of a jam-packed second-round schedule are Grigor Dimitrov and Frances Tiafoe.

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

(14) Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Andy Murray

This blockbuster second-round matchup almost turned out to be an all-lefty showdown between Nishioka and Thiago Monteiro. But the favorites managed to survive. Murray came back from two sets down and saved a match point to overcome Nishioka 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4. Auger-Aliassime fought off set points in both the third and fourth to beat Monteiro 6-3, 6-7(7), 7-6(6), 7-6(7).

All things being equal, this is not a bad matchup for Murray. Even following hip surgery, the three-time major champion still defends extremely well and can get a lot of balls back to an opponent who remains erratic at his young age. Auger-Aliassime, 20, is inconsistent but also wildly talented. If the Canadian serves well, he will be able to dictate play and force Murray to dig deep into energy reserves that may not be there following such a tough test on Tuesday.

Pick: Auger-Aliassime in 4

Editors pick • Murray in 3

(14) Grigor Dimitrov vs. Marton Fucsovics

Dimitrov and Fucsovics will be going head-to-head for the second time in the Cincinnati-U.S. Open bubble when they square off again during second-round action. Their only previous meeting came 10 days ago at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where Fucsovics prevailed 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

That was not a surprising result, as Dimitrov’s summer included a bout with the coronavirus followed by less than stellar play at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown. Fucsovics was in better shape physically in their showdown last week and had little trouble in the third set. The Hungarian, who reached the last 16 of the 2020 Australian Open, destroyed Hugo Dellien 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday. Dimitrov lost only one more game to Tommy Paul than Fucsovics did to Dellien, so the Bulgarian is probably more confident than he was last week. Still, Fucsovics should once again have the edge as the match progresses.

Pick: Fucsovics in 4

Editors pick • Grigor in 3

Frances Tiafoe vs. John Millman

The U.S. Open has not been kind to Tiafoe, who had a 2-5 lifetime record heading into the event this year. That is why Tuesday’s 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Andreas Seppi was especially sweet, and the 22-year-old American crucially avoided a fifth set–a situation he has struggled with throughout his career. Tiafoe is now 1-1 in the bubble and 2-6 for the season, having lost his Cincinnati opener to Andy Murray.

Millman, on the other hand, is a proven force at Flushing Meadows. The 43rd-ranked Australian upset Roger Federer en route to the 2018 quarterfinals and he reached the third round in 2017. Millman thrashed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday for his 10th match win of the season. Based on current form and past U.S. Open history, Millman has a clear advantage in this one.

Pick: Millman in 4

Editors pick • Tiafoe in I don’t know how many sets. 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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