10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s picks for the Adelaide quarterfinals, including Djokovic vs. Shapovalov

A blockbuster quarterfinal lineup is scheduled for Friday in Adelaide, headlined by a showdown between Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov. Jannik Sinner and Sebastian Korda are also aiming for a place in the last four.

Here are my picks for the two matchups.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (7) Denis Shapovalov

Djokovic and Shapovalov will be going head-to-head for the eighth time in their careers when they meet again in the quarterfinals of the Adelaide International on Friday afternoon. All seven of their previous encounters have gone Djokovic’s way, including five in straight sets. They have not squared off since their 2021 Wimbledon semifinal showdown, won by the Serb 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-5.

Although Djokovic was tested on Thursday in Adelaide, a 7-6(3), 7-6(5) result against Quentin Halys had more to do with the Frenchman’s fine play than any deficiencies in Djokovic’s game. The world No. 5 preceded that effort by beating Constant Lestienne 6-3, 6-2. Shapovalov has advanced with victories over Rinky Hijikata and Roman Safiullin as he looks to build momentum from Canada’s first-ever Davis Cup triumph this past fall. The 23-year-old has the firepower to make this interesting, but his past struggles against Djokovic are tough to look past and there is little reason to think Shapovalov will finally get over the hump on his opponent’s stomping grounds of the land Down Under.

Pick: Djokovic in 2

(6) Jannik Sinner vs. Sebastian Korda

Sinner is coming off a huge 2022 campaign that would have been even bigger and better had he stayed healthy the whole year. The Italian is up to 15th in the ranking thanks to a 47-16 record that included a title in Umag, a fourth-round result at Roland Garros, and quarterfinal showings in each of the other three Grand Slams. Sinner appears to be picking up right where he left off, as he is through to the Adelaide quarters following straight-set defeats of Kyle Edmund and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Up next for the 21-year-old on Friday is a second career contest against Korda. They previously faced each other at the 2021 Washington, D.C. event, where Sinner got the job done 7-6(3), 7-6(3). Korda is currently ranked 33rd and he boosted his chances for an Australian Open seed by beating Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut earlier this week–both in straight sets. This should be a fun one, but the 22-year-old American’s serve is more likely than Sinner’s to break down in the pressure-packed moments.

Pick: Sinner in 2

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