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Ricky’s picks for Day 5 of the Australian Open, including Tiafoe and Shapovalov

The matchups are heating up Down Under as Australian Open action moves into the third round on Friday. Hubert Hurkacz faces Denis Shapovalov, while Frances Tiafoe goes up against Karen Khachanov.

Here are my previews and picks.

(10) Hubert Hurkacz vs. (20) Denis Shapovalov

Hurkacz and Shapovalov will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers when they collide in round three of the Australian Open on Friday. The head-to-head series stands at 3-1 in favor of Hurkacz, but two of his wins came in 2019 and they split their two 2021 encounters.

They have never faced each other at a Grand Slam, and on this stage things could be different. Shapovalov is 32-20 lifetime in major main draws and has reached at least the quarterfinals of three of the four slams–including last year Down Under and the Wimbledon semis in 2021. Hurkacz also made a run to the 2021 Wimbledon semis, but he is just 17-18 lifetime at majors and has advanced past the third round only one other time (a fourth-round performance at Roland Garros last spring). The 11th-ranked Pole is coming off a five-set struggle with Lorenzo Sonego, too, giving an even bigger edge to Shapovalov.

Pick: Shapovalov in 4

(18) Karen Khachanov vs. (16) Frances Tiafoe

Tiafoe has been making headlines with his outfit this week, but his tennis has been doing plenty of talking dating back to last summer. The 17th-ranked American upset Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev en route to the U.S. Open semifinals, helped Team World win the Laver Cup, finished runner-up in Tokyo, and had a quarterfinal showing in Paris. Tiafoe is off to a 7-0 start this year, going undefeated at the United Cup for a victorious United States squad and posting Aussie Open victories over Daniel Altmaier and Jungcheng Shang.

Up next for the 16th seed is Khachanov, who has won each of their two previous meetings. The Russian prevailed 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-1 at Wimbledon in 2018 before making easier work of Tiafoe three years later at the All-England Club (6-3, 6-4, 6-4). However, Tiafoe will happy to contest this matchup on a hard court instead of grass and Khachanov has not been in great form over the past 12 months aside from also making a 2022 U.S. Open semifinal appearance. This should be a fun one complete with huge forehands left and right, but a scorching-hot Tiafoe likely has the edge this time around.

Pick: Tiafoe in 5

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