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Ricky’s preview and picks for Day 2 in Madrid, including Andy Murray

First-round action at the Mutua Madrid Open concludes on Thursday, when Dominic Thiem and Kyle Edmund continue to search for some momentum. Banja Luka champion Dusan Lajovic is getting back in gear against Jason Kubler.

(PR) Kyle Edmund vs. (WC) Dominic Thiem

Thiem is a Grand Slam champion and Edmund is a slam semifinalist. Fast forward to 2023 and one required a wild card to get into the main draw of a Masters 1000 event and the other needed to use a protected ranking. Both guys have fallen upon hard times, mainly due to injuries. It’s all relative, but Thiem is a lot closer to showing signs of his former self. The 29-year-old is back in the top 100 (94th) and has reached two clay-court quarterfinals this spring (Estoril and Munich).

Edmund missed multiple seasons due to knee problems and finds himself at 498th in the rankings. The 28-year-old Brit won a couple of main-tour matches last season, but he is 0-5 at the ATP level in 2023 and has won only two matches on the Futures circuit. It would be nothing short of a disaster for Thiem if his comeback continues by losing to Edmund

Pick: Thiem in 2

Jason Kubler vs. Dusan Lajovic

Lajovic is coming off one of the best weeks of his career, as he captured his second ATP title by triumphing in Banja Luka. The 32-year-old’s improbable run to the title included upsets of Novak Djokovic (quarterfinals) and Andrey Rublev (final). It pretty much came out of nowhere for Lajovic, who did not advance past the quarters at any of four stops on the Golden Swing and also lost in qualifying in both Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo.

Up first for the world No. 40 on Thursday is a first-ever encounter with Kubler. The Aussie is sneaky good on clay; way more than half (242 of 400) of his lifetime victories on the pro tour (Futures and Challengers included) have come on the slow stuff. Kubler has lost in the first round of only one tournament this season (Miami), so he may be able to take advantage of a somewhat fatigued opponent.

Pick: Kubler in 3

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