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Ricky’s picks for Wednesday in Rotterdam, including Rublev vs. De Minaur

Both first-round and second-round competition comprise Wednesday’s order of play at the ATP Rotterdam 500. Among the throng of stars taking the court are Andrey Rublev, Hubert Hurkacz, Alex de Minaur, and Grigor Dimitrov.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the matchups.

Alex de Minaur vs. (2) Andrey Rublev

Rublev and De Minaur will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers when first-round action at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament wraps up on Wednesday. De Minaur leads the head-to-head series 2-1, but they have faced each other only once since the start of 2019 and Rublev won that most recent encounter 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 at last season’s Monte-Carlo Masters.

Now they meet again at one of Rublev’s favorite tournaments. In three previous main-draw appearances in Rotterdam, the world No. 5 is 12-3 overall and has never lost prior to the quarterfinals. He lifted the trophy in 2021 and reached the semis last February before losing to eventual champion Felix Auger-Aliassime. De Minaur, who fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year’s quarterfinals, is coming off a fourth-round performance at the Australian Open (lost to Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-1, 6-2). The 25th-ranked Aussie represents a tough first-round matchup, but on an indoor hard court Rublev’s offense should eventually get the best of De Minaur’s counter-punching.

Pick: Rublev in 3

(5) Hubert Hurkacz vs. Grigor Dimitrov

If the previous meetings are anything to go by, we should be in for a fun one when Hurkacz and Dimitrov collide in the Rotterdam second round. Each of their two showdowns has been decided by a third-set tiebreaker, with Dimitrov prevailing on both occasions. The Bulgarian won 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) at the 2021 Indian Wells Masters and 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) last spring at the Monte-Carlo Masters.

Speaking of third-set ‘breakers, Hurkacz needed one to advance on Tuesday. The 10th-ranked Pole outlasted Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-7(7), 7-6(4) in exactly three hours to get his Rotterdam campaign off the ground. Dimitrov had a much easier time of things on Monday, when the 31-year-old coasted past Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3. With Dimitrov well rested and confident in this particular matchup, a minor upset could be in the cards.

Pick: Dimitrov in 3

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