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Ricky’s picks for the Adelaide semifinals, including Djokovic vs. Medvedev

One all-seeded showdown and one all-unseeded affair are on the menu for Saturday’s semifinals in Adelaide. Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev headline the action as they bid for a statement win early in 2023.

Here are my picks for the two matches.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (3) Daniil Medvedev

It’s not often that a matchup worthy of a Grand Slam title match takes place in the semifinals of a 250 event, but that will be the case at the Adelaide International on Saturday. Djokovic and Medvedev have faced each other 12 times overall–twice in slam finals–and the Serb is out in front 8-4 in the head-to-head series. Since Medvedev triumphed at the 2021 U.S. Open, Djokovic has reeled off three consecutive victories–none, however, in three sets. They most recently collided during round-robin action at the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals, where the 35-year-old prevailed 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(2).

Straight-set wins have been the order of the week in Adelaide for both men. Medvedev has ousted Lorenzo Sonego, Miomir Kecmanovic, and Karen Khachanov, although he had to save nine set points in his opener against Sonego. Djokovic has defeated Constant Lestienne, Quentin Halys, and Denis Shapovalov while requiring a pair of tiebreakers against Halys. The top seed has not been entirely dominant, but a couple close matches may serve him well and winning close matches is exactly what he has done against Medvedev in recent years.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

Sebastian Korda vs. Yoshihito Nishioka

A much more surprising matchup pits Korda against Nishioka for the third time in their careers. The 22-year-old American has dominated each of their two previous encounters; 6-3, 6-3 on the red clay of Parma in 2021 and 6-0, 6-2 on the indoor hard courts of Antwerp this past fall. That isn’t too surprising, either, as Nishioka’s heavy topspin forehand does not inflict any damage on Korda–who stands at 6’5” and wields an outstanding two-handed backhand.

Perhaps nobody has enjoyed a more impressive first few days of the 2023 campaign than Korda. The world No. 33 went up against Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Jannik Sinner earlier in the week and did not drop a single set. Nishioka punched his ticket to the semis by beating Holger Rune, Mackenzie McDonald, and Alexei Popyrin, dropping a set to both Rune and Popyrin. There is no reason to think that Korda’s domination of this matchup will come to an end on Saturday.

Pick: Korda in 2

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