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Ricky’s Picks for the Russians on Day 8 of the Australian Open Tennis • Medvedev and Rublev

Daniil Medvedev takes on American Mackenzie McDonald in the Australian Open fourth round. EPA-EFE/JAMES

By Ricky Dimon

It’s safe to say that Russian men’s tennis is on a roll. Behind Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Russia won the ATP Cup last week. Now there could be three Russians in the Australian Open quarterfinals. Aslan Karatsev is already there, while Medvedev and Rublev can join him with fourth-round wins on Monday.

Ricky previews the Day 8 action and makes his predictions.

(4) Daniil Medvedev vs. Mackenzie McDonald

Medvedev endured his first scare of the Australian Open when he temporarily squandered a two-set lead over Filip Krajinovic during third-round action on Saturday. The world No. 4 recovered in time to dominate the fifth and survive 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0. That may have actually been an effective wakeup call for Medvedev, who had been completely destroying opponents for the most part while in Melbourne–both at the ATP Cup and the Aussie Open. Dating back to last season, Medvedev is on a 17-match winning streak and he has defeated 10 top-10 opponents in a row.

Up next for the 24-year-old on Monday is McDonald, who trails the head-to-head series 3-0 (0-2 in main draws and 0-1 in qualifying). The 25-year-old American is 0-6 in total sets and has forced only one tiebreaker. Finally armed with a rare clean bill of health, McDonald has made a surprise fourth-round appearance with victories over Marco Cecchinato, Borna Coric, and Lloyd Harris. But the world No. 192’s run will likely end quickly against Medvedev, who is a massive favorite once again and won’t make the same mid-match mistakes that he did against Krajinovic.

Pick: Medvedev in 3

(7) Andrey Rublev vs. (24) Casper Ruud

Rublev and Medvedev have plenty of things in common right now. They just led Russia to the ATP Cup title, they are the two hottest players on tour, they are among the contenders to be the next first-time Grand Slam champion, and they are 2-0 at the ATP main-draw level against their respective fourth-round opponent. Rublev prevailed 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 at the 2019 Hamburg Open and then rolled over Ruud 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals of the same clay-court event one year later.

Although Rublev is solid on clay, it’s a surface that would generally favor Ruud. On a hard court, there is no reason to think that the 22-year-old Norwegian will have any real chance of avenging his two previous losses. Ruud has done well to reach the fourth round with wins over Jordan Thompson (via retirement), Tommy Paul, and Radu Albot, but Rublev of course is a whole different beast. The Russian led the ATP Tour with five titles in 2020, went 4-0 at the ATP Cup, and is 9-0 in sets this fortnight after cruising past Yannick Hanfmann, Thiago Monteiro, and Feliciano Lopez. Count on Rublev powering his way into a third consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal–a place where Ruud has never been.

Pick: Rublev in 3

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