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Ricky’s picks for Day 7 of the Australian Open, including Hurkacz vs. Korda

Quarterfinal spots will be at stake when the Australian Open gets the fourth round started on Sunday. Sebastian Korda tries to keep his run going against Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime faces unseeded Jiri Lehecka.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(10) Hubert Hurkacz vs. (29) Sebastian Korda

American men are making some serious noise at Melbourne Park, none more so than Korda. The 21-year-old took down Daniil Medvedev 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(4) on Friday night and the effortless tennis that was on display confirmed that the result had no resemblance to a fluke. Korda also had no issues whatsoever with Cristian Garin and Yosuke Watanuki, so he is looking like a man on a mission at this Australian Open.

Up next for the world No. 31 on Sunday is Hurkacz, for whom this fortnight has been a much different story. The 11th-ranked Pole is coming off back-to-back five-setters against Lorenzo Sonego and Denis Shapovalov, so the fuel tank may not be completely full. It should also be noted that Hurkacz is just 18-18 lifetime at slams and this is only his third trip past the third round. Although the rankings don’t say it, Korda is the clear favorite here.

Pick: Korda in 4

Jiri Lehecka vs. (6) Felix Auger-Aliassime

Auger-Aliassime and Lehecka will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Sunday. That is hardly a surprise considering Lehecka had played only two main-tour matches prior to last year. The 21-year-old Czech’s 2022 arrival ended with a runner-up performance at the NextGen ATP Finals and he is now looking like a prime candidate to be the ATP’s breakout star in 2023. Lehecka reached the Auckland second round as a qualifier and just avenged his three-set loss there by upsetting Cameron Norrie 6-7(8), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Friday. The world No. 71 also destroyed Borna Coric 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 before beating Christopher Eubanks in four sets.

Auger-Aliassime’s first two matches were too close for comfort. The Canadian battled past Vasek Pospisil 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(3), 6-3 and then came back from two sets down to defeat Alex Molcan 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. A more impressive third-round performance saw Auger-Aliassime take care of Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Overall this fortnight has been underwhelming for the world No. 7 and he has been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam only three times. This is a great opportunity for Lehecka to continue his rise.

Pick: Lehecka in 5

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