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Ricky’s preview and picks for Wednesday in Basel: Auger-Aliassime back in action

Felix Auger-Aliassime will begin his bid for a third title in as many weeks when he takes the court in Basel against Marc-Andrea Huesler on Wednesday. Jenson Brooksby and Ugo Humbert are also in first-round action.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(3) Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. (WC) Marc-Andrea Huesler

At this rate, Auger-Aliassime is heading straight for the Nitto ATP Finals. The current rate, of course, is winning titles left and right. Auger-Aliassime has lifted trophies in back-to-back weeks (Florence and Antwerp), and although he has not yet clinched a spot in Turin it has him in qualifying position. In addition to confidence, the good news for the ninth-ranked Canadian’s Swiss Indoors Basel prospects is that neither recent title trek was too taxing. He dropped just two sets in a total of eight matches.

Up first for Auger-Aliassime for Tuesday is Huesler, who is also having a great season and registers at a career-high ranking of No. 62 in the world. However, the 26-year-old Swiss may be wearing out down the stretch. After winning his first ATP title in Sofia, he lost right away in Astana (6-0, 6-2 to Emil Ruusuvuori) and Antwerp (in three sets to Francisco Cerundolo). Huesler would have to get back on track in a hurry to even be competitive with Auger-Aliassime.

Pick: Auger-Aliassime in 2

Jenson Brooksby vs. (Q) Ugo Humbert

Brooksby and Humbert will also be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Wednesday. Given how bad the year has been for Humbert, simply qualifying for the Basel main draw has to be considered a success. He did so successfully by beating Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-3 and Aslan Karatsev 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-1. Main draws at the ATP level, however, have been a disaster for Humbert in 2022. The 104th-ranked Frenchman is just 8-20 and has not reached a single quarterfinal the entire season.

The story is a much different one for Brooksby, who has two runner-up performances (Dallas and Atlanta) plus a recent quarterfinal showing in San Diego and semifinal result in Seoul. Indoor hard courts aren’t necessarily ideal for the 50th-ranked American, but they are playing relatively slow in Basel and that will probably prevent Humbert from keeping rallies short and avoiding Brooksby’s slice-and-dice game.

Pick: Brooksby in 3