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Ricky’s picks for the Astana ATP Tennis semifinals: Djokovic vs. Medvedev and Tsitsipas vs. Rublev

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will face Daniil Medvedev for the 11th time in Astana. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

By Ricky Dimon

Four of the top five seeds have advanced to the Astana semifinals, making for some blockbuster matchups on Saturday. Novak Djokovic will battle Daniil Medvedev for a place in the title match, while Stefanos Tsitsipas awaits Andrey Rublev.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(4) Novak Djokovic vs. (2) Daniil Medvedev

Djokovic vs. Medvedev is a matchup you would expect to see in a Grand Slam final–or at the earliest in the semifinals. You certainly wouldn’t anticipate seeing it in the semis of a 500-point tournament, but that will be the case on Saturday at the Astana Open. Djokovic is ranked seventh and therefore seeded fourth in this loaded field, but he has been playing like the title favorite from start to finish. The 35-year-old Serb dropped only six total games against Cristian Garin and Botic van de Zandschulp before beating Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-3.

Medvedev is in absolutely dominant form, as well, so with all due respect to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev this should probably be the final. The world No. 4 has destroyed Albert Ramos-Vinolas (6-3, 6-1), Emil Ruusuvuori (6-3, 6-2), and Roberto Bautista Agut (6-1, 6-1). Medvedev has been playing impressive but low-risk tennis, basically refusing to make unforced errors on this slow hard court. He will have to do more, of course, with Djokovic on the other side of the net. This should be a fascinating contest, but look for the 21-time Grand Slam champion to take a 7-4 lead in the head-to-head series.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

Andrey Rublev of Russia takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Astana semifinals. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

(5) Andrey Rublev vs. (3) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Tsitsipas and Rublev will be squaring off for the 11th time in their careers on Saturday. The head-to-head series is all tied up 5-5 (5-4 for Tsitsipas at the ATP level), but Rublev leads it 4-2 on hard courts (3-2 indoors). Tsitsipas’ only hard-court victories over the Russian have come in a third-set tiebreaker at the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals and in five sets at the 2018 NextGen ATP Finals.

Tsitsipas has already locked up a spot in Turin and Rublev looks poised to join him there, especially if the world No. 9 continues to rack up wins at this 500-point tournament. He has quietly compiled a 43-15 record this season, which includes a recent quarterfinal performance at the U.S. Open and Astana victories over Laslo Djere, Zhizhen Zhang, and Adrian Mannarino. Tsitsipas also hasn’t surrendered a set this week, although he had to work hard against both Luca Nardi and Hubert Hurkacz. A slight edge goes to Rublev based on his form, hard-court success against Tsitsipas, and prowess at ATP 500s.

Pick: Rublev in 3

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