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Tennis • Ricky’s Picks in Vienna and Nur-Sultan: Rublev vs. Sonego and Mannarino vs. Millman

World No. 8 Andrey Rublev plays for his fifth title of the season in the Vienna final.

By Ricky Dimon

I had Novak Djokovic vs. Andrey Rublev as the two Vienna finalists before the tournament started. Unsurprisingly, only one of those turned out to be correct. Surprisingly, the correct one was Rublev!

The Russian will now attempt to win a tour-leading fifth title in 2020 when he faces Lorenzo Sonego in a surprising Vienna final on Sunday afternoon. In Nur-Sultan, meanwhile, an all-seeded affair pits Adrian Mannarino against John Millman.

Erste Bank Open: (LL) Lorenzo Sonego vs. (5) Andrey Rublev

Rublev and Sonego will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers and for the first time on the main tour. Their only previous encounter came four years ago on red clay of the Cortina Challenger, where Rublev got the job done 6-3, 7-5. Obviously far more is at stake this time around; in fact, this is definitely the biggest match of Sonego’s career. The 25-year-old Italian is 1-0 lifetime in ATP finals, but his win came at a small 250-point in Antalya last summer. He is through to his second final as a lucky loser, making the most of his new opportunity with straight-set victories over Dusan Lajovic, Hubert Hurkacz, Djokovic, and Dan Evans.

That Rublev has not dropped a set this week really isn’t much of a surprise. The eighth-ranked Russian is absolutely on fire right now, bidding for his third 500-point title in less than two months (also Hamburg and St. Petersburg). As if he needed any help, Rublev has gotten retirements from Jannik Sinner and Kevin Anderson this week while also beating an injured Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. The No. 5 seed will likely be too good in this one, but Sonego is incredibly confident right now and won’t be afraid of the moment so a relatively competitive and high-quality contest should be in store.

Pick: Rublev in 2

Adrian Mannarino has not dropped a set en route to the final.

Astana Open: (3) Adrian Mannarino vs. (4) John Millman
It will be a much different kind of matchup in Nur-Sultan–for multiple reasons. One, it is extremely tough to call. Two, the hitting won’t be nearly as big but the rallies are sure to be grueling from start to finish. The previous two encounters between Mannarino and Millman (both in the last 13 months and both won by Millman) were long three-setters and another one can be expected on Sunday.

That would not be anything new for the 45th-ranked Australian, who needed three tough sets in the quarterfinals (vs. Tommy Paul) and the semis (vs. Frances Tiafoe) earlier this week. Mannarino, on the other hand, has absolutely cruised past all of his opponents (Yuichi Sugita, Mackenzie McDonald, and Emil Ruusuvuori).

The 39th-ranked Frenchman has a horrendous finals record (1-8), but Millman will be feeling the pressure of having never won one. Current form and experience give a slight edge to Mannarino.

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.