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Ricky’s preview and pick for Monday in Rotterdam: Bublik vs. Wawrinka

An absolutely stacked Rotterdam tournament gets underway on Monday. There are a whole host of blockbuster first-round matchups on the menu for this ATP 500, including Alexander Bublik going up against Stan Wawrinka.

Here is my preview and pick for Monday night’s matchup.

(PR) Stan Wawrinka vs. Alexander Bublik.

Bublik and Wawrinka will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers and for the second time already this season when they clash in round one of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Monday night. They just faced each other at the United Cup, where Wawrinka scored a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory for his first win in three tries in this head-to-head series. However, it’s really tied up at 1-1 since one match (last year in Metz) ended after just three games due to retirement. Bublik’s other win came via via a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 decision last spring on the red clay of Monte-Carlo.

To say that Bublik’s 2023 campaign has been a disaster so far would be a gross understatement. His record stands at 0-7–0-4 in team competitions (United Cup and Davis Cup) plus first-round exits in Auckland, the Australian Open, and Montpellier. Frustration boiled over for the 50th-ranked Kazakh last week, who destroyed three rackets in a row during a loss to Gregoire Barrere.

Wawrinka is toiling away down at 130th in the rankings, but that is mostly due to inactivity and now that he is back from injury he is in decent form. The 37-year-old Swiss reached the Basel quarterfinals last fall and he is 2-3 this season with losses only to Hubert Hurkacz, Alexander Zverev, and in five sets to Alex Molcan at the Aussie Open.

All signs point to Bublik’s woes continuing.

Pick: Wawrinka in 2

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