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Ricky’s Preview and Picks for Day 2 at the Australian Open: Auger-Aliassime vs. Ruusuvuori and Isner vs. Cressy

Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime plays a shot during his semi-finals match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev on Day 8 of the ATP Cup tennis tournament at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 08 January 2022. EPA-EFE/MICK TSIKAS

By Ricky Dimon

First-round action at the Australian Open will wrap up on Tuesday, when Felix Auger-Aliassime kicks off his campaign against Emil Ruusuvuori. John Isner also has a tough one on his hands, facing fellow big-serving American Maxime Cressy.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the best Day 2 matchups.

Emil Ruusuvuori vs. (9) Felix Auger-Aliassime

Auger-Aliassime and Ruusuvuori will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they meet in round one of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Will 2022 be the year when Auger-Aliassime makes the jump into the upper echelons of the rankings to join the likes of Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas? The 21-year-old Canadian’s consistency will have to improve, but the season is certainly off to a strong start in the form of an ATP Cup title for his country.

Ruusuvuori is coming off a semifinal performance at the Melbourne 250, where he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal. The 22-year-old Finn is ranked 90th in the world but talent-wise belongs in the top 50–and has played like it dating back to last summer. This could be one of the most entertaining matches of the opening round, but Ruusuvuori has never been past the second round of a slam and Auger-Aliassime just made a run to the U.S. Open semifinals. The favorite’s experience–and also superior firepower–should see him through to the winner’s circle.

Pick: Auger-Aliassime in 4

Maxime Cressy vs. (22) John Isner

It will be an all-American battle with huge serves, lots of aces, and very few–if any–service breaks when Isner and Cressy collide on Tuesday. In a match that is sure to come down to just a few crucial points in tiebreakers, the question is which player is more clutch and is more confident at the moment. The answer to that is Cressy. Despite having much less experience than his countryman, Cressy owns the edge in current form. He played great toward the end of last season and begin this season with a runner-up performance in Melbourne (lost to Nadal).

Isner is still a decent 25th in the rankings at 36 years old, but almost all of his best work these days comes in the United States–specifically Atlanta. The Australian Open has always been his worst major and he heads into it with a 1-3 record in 2022. This sets up well for Cressy in what would be an upset on paper but not in reality.

Pick: Cressy in 5

Rafael Nadal (R) of Spain celebrates with his trophy after winning against Maxime Cressy (L) of the US in the Men’s final match at the Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, 09 January 2022. EPA-EFE/JAMES ROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

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