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Ricky’s Tennis picks for Sunday at the U.S. Open — Medvedev, Alcaraz, Tiafoe in Action

Daniil Medvedev of Russia hits a return between his legs, on a ball the Hawkeye ruled long, to Pablo Andujar of Spain during their match on the fifth day of the US Open Tennis. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO.

By Ricky Dimon

The first four quarterfinal spots on the men’s side of the U.S. Open will be handed out on Sunday. Daniil Medvedev is still alive in an upset-filled bottom half of the draw and he headlines the start of the fourth-round schedule. Meanwhile, what will Carlos Alcaraz do for an encore following his upset of Stefanos Tsitsipas?

Ricky makes his picks for the four matches on Sunday.

(24) Dan Evans vs. (2) Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev and Evans will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers. With Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev exiting New York prematurely, Mevedev has become an even bigger favorite in the bottom half of the bracket than he was when the tournament began. The second seed is playing like it, too, with straight-set blowouts of Richard Gasquet, Dominik Koepfer, and Pablo Andujar. Medvedev is now 11-1 in his last 12 matches, a stretch that includes the Toronto title.

Evans took a much different route to the fourth round. The 27th-ranked Brit needed four sets to beat Thiago Monteiro and Marcos Giron before coming back from two sets down for a 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(1) victory over Alexei Popyrin on Friday. This has come pretty much out of nowhere for Evans, who had been 1-5 in his last six matches dating back to Wimbledon before arriving at Flushing Meadows. Sunday is surely where it will come to an end, as the 27-year-old doesn’t have the offensive firepower with which to hit through Medvedev.

Pick: Medvedev in 3

(Q) Peter Gojowyczk vs. Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz produced by far the biggest moment of his career on Friday, stunning Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5) amidst a raucous atmosphere in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It’s never easy to bounce right back from such an amazing and draining performance, but Alcaraz just doesn’t seem like a normal 18-year-old–and he may not know any better to be nervous. Plus, if he can pass a test against Tsitsipas in Arthur Ashe he can definitely handle a match against Gojowyczk in the Grandstand.

It’s not like Gojowyczk is going to fresh mentally or physically, either. The 141st-ranked German has already played six matches in New York (three to qualify for the main draw) and has played 14 total sets through three rounds. There is quite simply a massive gap in natural talent in this matchup, and it’s a huge opportunity that Alcaraz almost certainly won’t let go to waste.

Pick: Alcaraz in 3

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain reacts after upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their match on the fifth day of the US Open. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

Other matches

Frances Tiafoe over Felix Auger-Aliassime in 5 – In most settings I might take Auger-Aliassime, but Tiafoe has home-court advantage in the United States and a night session in Arthur Ashe Stadium only helps his cause. The American has been outstanding through three rounds, especially against Andrey Rublev on Friday–also a night-session match. FAA is also coming off a five-setter with Roberto Bautista Agut.

Diego Schwartzman over Botic Van de Zandschulp in 3 – How is BVZ in the fourth round of a Grand Slam? Who knows?!?! He did well to beat Casper Ruud in round two, but on a hard court Schwartzman is a more difficult proposition than Ruud. The Argentine should hand out a free lesson in tennis on this kind of stage. 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.