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Ricky’s Picks: Auger-Aliassime, Fucsovics run into their nemeses on Manic Monday at Wimbledon

Alexander Zverev has won all six sets vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime, his fourth-round Wimbledon opponent. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL EDITORIAL USE ONLY

By Ricky Dimon

Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev are by no means unbeatable, but Felix Auger-Aliassime and Marton Fucsovics would probably prefer to play against just about anyone else in the Wimbledon draw…outside of Novak Djokovic, of course. Auger-Aliassime is 0-6 in total sets against Zverev; Fucsovics has already lost to Rublev three times in 2021 alone.

Ricky previews those two matches and makes his predictions.

(16) Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. (4) Alexander Zverev

Zverev and Auger-Aliassime will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers when they battle for a spot in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Monday. All three previous encounters have gone the way of Zverev in easy straight sets; 6-1, 6-4 at the 2019 Monte-Carlo Masters, 6-3, 6-1 later that year in Beijing, and 6-3, 6-3 in the Cologne final last fall.

If Auger-Aliassime is serving well, grass should help him be more competitive. The 19th-ranked Canadian did well to reach the Stuttgart final and the Halle semis, but he was being outclassed by Nick Kyrgios on Saturday before the Aussie retired because of an ab injury. Zverev lost only one set to Taylor Fritz in week one, and that was in a tiebreaker. Thus continues Grand Slam success for the sixth-ranked German, whose last three slam results are runner-up (2020 U.S. Open), quarterfinals (Australian Open), and semifinals (French Open). This could be interesting early, but Zverev will likely pull away for a mostly routine victory.

Pick: Zverev in 4

Andrey Rublev faces Marton Fucsovis in Wimbledon’s round of 16. EPA-EFE/AELTC / Edward Whitaker / POOL

Marton Fucsovics vs. (5) Andrey Rublev

On paper, things aren’t quite as lopsided in the Rublev-Fucsovics rivalry because Fucsovics actually has a win in this series. But it is a headline-making matchup given how often we are seeing it in 2021–and because of how bad it has been for the Hungarian in recent months. During a five-week stretch in March and April, they faced each other three times and it would have been four had Fucsovics not handed Rublev a walkover in the Doha quarterfinals. The Russian won all three meetings in straight sets, improving to 4-1 lifetime in the head-to-head series (he also won 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(3) at the 2020 French Open).

Could there be a turning of the tide for Fucsovics on Monday? Probably not. The 48th-ranked Hungarian won just a single match in two grass-court warmup events and he had never been past the second round in SW19 prior to this fortnight. Fucsovics has knocked off Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman, but Sinner has been struggling and Schwartzman has never been adept on grass. Rublev is a whole different beast. The seventh-ranked Russian won nine of 11 sets in week one without ever being pushed to a tiebreaker. He has advanced to quarterfinals in two of the last three majors and he has every reason to make it three out of four.

Pick: Rublev in 4

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