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Ricky’s Second-Round Picks Australian Open Men’s Singles Tennis • Nadal, Medvedev, Tsitisipas and More

Aussie No. 1 Alex de Minaur topped Tennis Sandgren in his Australian Open opener. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT

By Ricky Dimon

Round two of the Australian Open wraps up on Thursday, when Rafael Nadal is taking the court as he looks to put questions surrounding his back issue to rest. Meanwhile, red-hot Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev will try to remain on a roll.

Ricky makes his picks for the top players in action and the best matchups.

Rublev over Monteiro in 3 – Rublev is just routing people right now. On a fast hard court, nothing will be different against Monteiro.

Sonego over Lopez in 3 – Credit to Lopez for still grinding out there at 39 years old, but he is slowing down and Sonego is surging. The Italian has been a different beast since upsetting Novak Djokovic last fall in Vienna.

Ruud over Paul in 4 – Paul took Ruud to five sets on clay at last year’s French Open, which means he can definitely be competitive on a hard court. Still, Ruud’s forehand is far bigger than anything Paul possesses.

Popyrin over Harris in 4 – Popyrin upset David Goffin from three match points down on Tuesday. There is no reason to get off the bandwagon now. The Aussie is rolling.

Coric over McDonald in 3 – McDonald is one of those guys who beats opponents he’s supposed to beat but doesn’t really trouble highly-ranked players. This isn’t a good matchup for him against another counter-puncher who just counter-punches much better.

Medvedev over Carballes Baena in 3 – I thought Vasek Pospisil would be more competitive in round one. But it has become plainly obvious: nobody other than the best players in the world can be competitive with the current Medvedev.

Tsitsipas over Kokkinakis in 3 – Congrats to Kokkinakis for persevering through all the injuries and having his moment in round one. But Tsitsipas will make sure the Aussie’s run ends in swift fashion.

Alcaraz over Ymer in 4 – This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the day on paper, at least for hardcore tennis fans. It shouldn’t disappoint.

Khachanov over Berankis in 4 – Berankis will make Khachanov work, but the discrepancy in firepower on a fast surface will be too great.

Berrettini over Machac in 3 – 2020 was a disaster for Berrettini. But maybe he just alternates years, because 2019 was brilliant and 2021 is shaping up to be the same. He has been awesome during the Australian summer so far.

Caruso over Fognini in 5 – It’s always scary to pick against Fognini because he is so talented, but it’s even scarier to pick him to win.

de Minaur over Cuevas in 3 – Demon crushed Tennys Sandgren in round one and Sandgren is better on hards than Cuevas. Combined with the fact that Demon thrives in front of the home crowd, this shouldn’t be close.

Nadal over Mmoh in 3 – Mmoh is coming off an absolute war with Viktor Troicki that went to five sets. Good luck facing Nadal when you are already running on fumes.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.