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Ricky’s Tennis Preview and Picks For Day 10 Of The U.S. Open: Medevedev, Rublev, Thiem, de Minaur

By Ricky Dimon

The men’s semifinal lineup at the 2020 U.S. Open will be rounded out on Wednesday. What we know is that won’t include any member of the Big 3. We also know it will include a Russian–either Daniil Medvedev or Andrey Rublev. The other quarterfinal pits Dominic Thiem against Alex de Minaur.

Ricky previews the action and makes his predictions.

(10) Andrey Rublev vs. (3) Daniil Medvedev

It will be an all-Russian affair when Medvedev and Rublev square off in Wednesday’s first quarterfinal. Medvedev is sweeping the head-to-head series 3-0 (2-0 at the ATP level) and 6-0 in total sets. He prevailed 6-3, 6-2 on the indoor hard courts of the 2016 Budapest Challenger, 6-2, 6-3 at the 2019 Cincinnati Masters, and 6-4, 7-5 a few months later in St. Petersburg.

That is not the only reason why Medvedev is a massive favorite in this one. The world No. 5 finished runner-up at last year’s U.S. Open, stopped only by Nadal in a five-set thriller. He is once again thriving at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, winning his first four matches of this event without dropping a set or even playing a set more competitive than 6-4.

Rublev surrendered a set at this U.S. Open for the first time on Monday, but he promptly recovered to erase 2019 semifinalist Matteo Berrettini 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. The world No. 14 has been one of the best players on tour in 2020, boasting a 19-4 record and two titles.

Andrey Rublev

Although Medvedev is just two years older (24 to 22), he has considerable edge in big-stage experience not only because of his 2019 U.S. Open run but also because he is a two-time Masters 1000 champion and a runner-up at another.

Rublev’s forehand is huge, but his serve is not yet good enough to overcome his countryman’s incredible defensive, counter-punching game. Plus, Medvedev is wielding plenty of firepower himself these days. The No. 3 seed is looking all-around too solid to donate a set, even to someone as formidable as Rublev.

Pick: Medvedev in 3

(21) Alex de Minaur vs. (2) Dominic Thiem

Until this season, Thiem (one U.S. Open quarterfinal run notwithstanding) was really only considered a Grand Slam threat at the French Open–where he was a semifinalist in 2016 and 2017 and a finalist in 2018 and 2019. This year, however, the Austrian broke through at the Australian Open, where he earned a spot in the final and pushed eventual champion Djokovic to five sets.

De Minaur is a bit of a surprise quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows–not because he isn’t talented enough, but because he had been in relatively poor form this year. Until this fortnight, the Aussie had a miserable 2-4 record on the season. His most notable win en route to this match was a third-round ouster of No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov.

Thiem owns a 2-0 record over de Minaur, but the two men haven’t met since their 2018 Davis Cup rubber. The world No. 3 certainly heads into tomorrow’s match as the favorite. While de Minaur is playing well and is more than capable of putting up a fight, Thiem is far more consistent with far more experience in big-match play. De Minaur’s previous best Grand Slam showing was a fourth round last year at the U.S. Open.

Pick: Thiem 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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