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Ricky’s preview and picks for Monday at the Miami Open, including Tsitsipas and Khachanov

Stefanos Tsitsipas has not yet played a match at the Miami Open heading into third-round competition on Monday. Tsitsipas will begin his tournament against Cristian Garin, while Karen Khachanov battles Jiri Lehecka.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(Q) Cristian Garin vs. (2) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Tsitsipas may be the No. 2 seed at the Miami Masters, but he certainly isn’t the second favorite to take home the title. Because of a shoulder problem, prior to the start of Indian Wells he expressed pessimism about his chances of doing well during the Sunshine Double. Sure enough, the world No. 3 lost right away in the desert to Jordan Thompson. Tsitsipas still hasn’t played a match since that result more than two weeks ago, as he received a Miami first-round bye and then got a walkover from Richard Gasquet.

Up first for the Greek on Monday is a fourth career meeting with Garin, who trails the head-to-head series 2-1 (2-0 at the ATP level). However, the Chilean won their only previous hard-court encounter 7-6(4), 7-5 at the 2018 Le Gosier Challenger. Garin is no clay-court specialist; he made a run to the Wimbledon quarters last summer, advanced to the Indian Wells fourth round, and now finds himself in the last 32 in Miami following victories over Marcos Giron and Sebastian Baez. Unless Tsitsipas is suddenly 100 percent, this a great opportunity for Garin to continue his winning ways.

Pick: Garin in 3

(14) Karen Khachanov vs. Jiri Lehecka

Khachanov and Lehecka will be squaring off for the first time in their careers. Lehecka has been one of the breakout stars on tour this season, compiling a 14-6 record at the ATP level that includes a QF showing at the Australian Open and a SF performance in Doha. The 21-year-old Czech is up to 44th in the world and poised to climb higher following Miami wins at the expense of Federico Coria and Lorenzo Musetti.

Although he is a decent 10-5 in 2023, Khachanov’s only notable wins (not including a retirement from Sebastian Korda) are over Jack Draper (Adelaie) and Frances Tiafoe (Australian Open). Since the Australian summer it has been a struggle for Khachanov. The Russian battled past Tomas Martin Etcheverry on Saturday, but he is still just 2-3 in his last five matches. Khachanov may have a slight edge in the forehand H2H, but Lehecka is the better all-around player right now.

Pick: Lehecka in 2

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