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Ricky’s preview and picks for the Acapulco semifinals: Fritz vs. Paul and Rune vs. De Minaur

Taylor Fritz will face another fellow American in Acapulco, this time Tommy Paul during semifinal action on Friday. Holger Rune and Alex de Minaur are also hoping to book a spot in the championship match.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(7) Tommy Paul vs. (3) Taylor Fritz

Fritz and Paul will be squaring off for the seventh time in their careers at the professional level and for the fourth time on the main tour when they clash in the semifinals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel on Friday night. The head-to-head series is all tied up at 3-3, with Paul having won two of three Challenger/Futures matches and Fritz ahead 2-1 at the ATP level. They most recently met at the 2022 Miami Masters, where Fritz prevailed 7-6(2), 6-4.

Both Americans are without question playing the best tennis of their careers right now. Paul made a run to the Australian Open semis to begin this season, but Fritz has been the much more consistent player–which is why he is top five in the world now (Paul is No. 23 in the rankings). Fritz is on a seven-match winning streak dating back to Delray Beach, where he won the fifth title of his career. It should also be noted that the 25-year-old is a former finalist in Acapulco, having finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2020. Fritz is in even better form than his countryman and conditions at this tournament are perfect for him, so he should advance to another Acapulco final.

Pick: Fritz in 2

(4) Holger Rune vs. (8) Alex de Minaur

Rune has been on a roll since dropping the opening set of his week to Ben Shelton, 9-7 in a tiebreaker. The 10th-ranked Dane has since lost a total of eight games–including just two in his last two matches. He erased Nuno Borges 6-0, 6-2 and then got a retirement from Matteo Berrettini while leading 6-0, 1-0.

Things should get a lot tougher on Friday against De Minaur, even though Rune won their first two encounters during the indoor swing this past fall. De Minaur at least managed to be extremely competitive in Stockholm, losing 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5. The 22nd-ranked Aussie has dropped only eight games in total this week, absolutely destroying Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez, Jacopo Berrettini, and Taro Daniel. Aside from Rune’s battle with Shelton, his Indian Wells doubles partner, both of these guys got basically free passes to the semis. With De Minaur in fine form and Rune having struggled a bit since the Australian Open with a shoulder issue, this is a good opportunity for a minor upset.

Pick: De Minaur in 3

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